Denver Rally Against Transfer, Sale of Public Lands

February 25, 2015

 Denver Rally Unites Sportsmen Against Transfer, Sale of Public Lands

Wednesday, february 25, 2015
Hunters and anglers gather at State Capitol to protest
efforts to take control of federal public lands

DENVER - Sportsmen and -women from across Colorado converged on the steps of the
 Colorado State Capitol this afternoon to protest efforts by members of the Colorado
legislature to take control of federally managed public lands located within the
 state's borders.

"Keep public lands in public hands," was the rallying cry of the hunters and anglers,
who are strongly opposed to efforts to transfer to state ownership federal public
lands in Colorado. A bill has been introduced in the Colorado General Assembly that
would give the state concurrent jurisdiction over some federally managed public 
lands; subsequent proposals aimed at undermining the federal public lands system
 are expected.

"Public lands are 100 percent essential to Colorado recreation of all kinds and 
should never be surrendered to the political whims of state politics and special
 interests," said Kent Ingram, president of Colorado Wildlife Federation
"In the case of Colorado sportsmen and sportswomen, these public lands may also 
represent the only real guarantee we have in hunting and fishing opportunity."

A bipartisan poll
by Colorado College found that more than 80 percent of Coloradans cited the ability
to be near and recreate on public lands as a significant factor for living in the
West, with 72 percent saying that public lands belong to all Americans, not individual

"Nearly three quarters of Western sportsmen rely on federally managed public lands
for their hunting access, "said Nick Payne, Colorado field representative for the
Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership
"Colorado has over 24 million acres of federal public lands and with that some of
the finest hunting, fishing and outdoor recreation in the world. No reasonable
after thorough examination, would support turning public lands over to the states.
Public land transfer could result in one likely outcome: the sale of public lands
to the highest bidder and the loss of access to millions of acres of prime hunting
and fishing lands."

The enormous costs associated with fighting wildfires, maintaining roads and trails,
treating noxious weeds and conducting habitat restoration on these lands carry a
 high price tag and would tax the abilities and budgets of Western states to manage
them. Consequently, a transfer scenario could result in the sale of these lands 
to private interests and a permanent loss of access to sportsmen and other members
of the public in perpetuity.

"As private hunting access increasingly becomes limited to the wealthy and
public land remains the only safeguard that, no matter what profession you choose
or what family you marry into, you will always have a place to stalk backcountry
 bulls or decoy plump northern mallards," said Tim Brass, southern Rockies coordinator
for Backcountry Hunters and Anglers
"There's simply no other way to spin it. A federal public land transfer would lead
to a loss of public access for sportsmen throughout our country. It's time for
to drop this unpopular rhetoric and work toward real public land management solutions."

Speakers at the Denver event, which follows similar sportsmen rallies in Boise, 
Idaho, and Santa Fe, New Mexico, include sportsmen, business owners and military
 veterans. Corinne Doctor of Lafayette, owner of Rep Your Water
Eric Lynn of Colorado Springs, a veteran and owner of Mountain Ridge Gear
David Leinweber, also from Colorado Springs and owner of Angler's Covey
and Kirk Deeter of Pine, Field & Stream
editor at large, joined the hundreds gathered at the Capitol to raise their voices
in support of the nation's federal public lands.

"Every major river in the west begins in or flows through public lands," said Aaron
Kindle, Colorado field coordinator for Trout Unlimited
"So for anglers, public lands are the holy grail. Attempts to send these lands to
cash-strapped states that will have no choice but to sell out when the ledger becomes
off-balance - that really raises a red flag for anglers. The access and opportunities
these lands provide are the birthright of all Americans. It should stay that way
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