On October 27, 1858, or 157 years ago today, one of the greatest wildlife conservationists in the history of our country was born. Known for his brute toughness and great leadership, Theodore Roosevelt certainly left his mark on America’s wild landscapes while he was here on earth. During his time as President, he established the U.S. Forest Service, created National Parks and National Forests, and was partly responsible for protecting over 230 million acres of land.
In his own time, these ideas were not unanimously popular, but no one ever made a move to reverse the legislative steps that would create T.R.’s conservation legacy—until now.
As you may have read on this blog before, a total of 37 bills were introduced in 11 Western states in 2015 to promote the transfer of federal public lands to individual states. If you live in the West, you probably heard that thousands of your friends, neighbors, and fellow sportsmen rallied against this bad idea earlier this year. And you definitely heard from us this spring, when the fight moved to Washington and our U.S. Senate passed a non-binding budget resolution that encourages Congress to “sell, or transfer to, or exchange with, a state or local government any Federal land that is not within the boundaries of a National Park, National Preserve, or National Monument.”
What was once regarded as a silly idea is now on record as something our federal lawmakers support, and that’s why it’s no time to sit back or lower our voices. Even though all but a few of the state bills were defeated, there’s still support—and funding to fuel support—for federal land transfer, which would mean the end of hunting and fishing as we know it on this vast public-land system.
More than 19,600 people have signed a petition to oppose this bad idea, resulting in more than 188,000 letters asking local, state, and federal lawmakers to stand with sportsmen. And we want to crank the volume up even further.
Help us get to 25,000 signatures on Theodore Roosevelt’s birthday—to honor a great man, with great ambition, and an astounding conservation legacy that fuels our sporting traditions. Sign the petition at sportsmensaccess.org.
Then let your friends know that you stand for public access to fish and wildlife resources and quality days afield that are unmatched in any country on the planet. (Yeah, we said it.) Post with #HappyBirthdayTR and #PublicLandsProud and we’ll repost our favorites all day today.