A Washington Republican and California Democrat teamed up today to introduce a resolution in the U.S. House that terms our federal lands a “national treasure that belong to all Americans and which should be maintained for future generations.”
The bill from Rep. Dave Reichert of eastern King County and Rep. Alan Lowenthal of the Los Angeles area say the public lands provide “invaluable” fish and wildlife habitat and “world-class hunting and fishing opportunities.”
“From Mount Rainier National Park, the Lake Chelan National Recreation Area, to the Wenatchee National Forest, our region, our state, and our country are blessed with beautiful feats of nature,” said Reichert in a press release. “As Washington residents we have enjoyed these treasures hiking with our families, taking swims in the lake, and looking out our windowsills at the beautiful landscape. It is our duty to make sure our children and grandchildren are afforded the same experiences and to support our local economies who depend on their natural beauty to attract tourists and visitors from across the globe. We must continue to protect and preserve our federal lands.”
“Our country’s most important natural places provide many benefits to all Americans, and Congress has the responsibility to oversee the proper management of these lands for generations to come,” said Lowenthal. “This resolution signifies our continued intention to keep America’s public lands in the public domain for all to enjoy and benefit from.”
Backcountry Hunters and Anglers was buoyed by the move.
“This bipartisan effort by members of Congress sends a strong message regarding the value of U.S. public lands, the outdoor opportunities they offer and the economic power they represent. BHA looks forward to continuing to collaborate with forward-looking decision makers to assure the future of our public lands legacy – for our kids and the generations that follow,” said Land Tawney, president of the Missoula-based organization that has pushing back at land transfers.
Earlier today BHA pointed to an Oregon land board’s decision to sell off the Elliott State Forest as a “shocking reminder of how susceptible state lands are to fiduciary and political pressures – and how quickly we can lose our traditional public access when states are faced with such pressure.”
The Congressmen’s resolution comes out two weeks after Utah Republican Jason Chaffetz withdrew a bill that would have required the disposal of 180,000 acres of federal, public land in Idaho and Oregon as well as millions more acres elsewhere in the West. He dropped it after outcry from sportsmen and others.