“What a country chooses to save is what a country chooses to say about itself.”Mollie Beatty
Director – US Fish & Wildlife Service
For the past year, the outlook for public land area in the United States has been nothing but doom and gloom.
Tuesday night, we took a step in the right direction to expand public land and protect our nation’s great resource – it’s land. The Senate voted 92-8 to pass the largest public lands bill in the past decade, The Natural Resources Management Act. This overwhelming vote reflects that the American people care deeply about our land, no matter what political party you align yourself with.
- Permanently re-authorizes the Land & Water Conservation fund
- 1.3 Million Acres of New Wilderness Areas
- Expands 5 national parks, including Death Valley, Joshua Tree, and the Mojave National Preserve.
- Add 4 National Monument & Historic Site’s
- Permanent Mining Ban on 370k acres surrounding Yellowstone & North Cascades NPs.
- 367 Miles of new “Wild & Scenic Rivers” (!!)
- 2,600 Miles of new National Trails
- ALL Federal Lands will be open to Hunting and Fishing unless otherwise specified
- Protection for 620 miles of rivers from damming & development, including the Green River in UT.
- It’s pretty cool if you ask me (you didn’t)
With the re-authorization of the Land & Water Conservation Fund (LWCF), the homies can get back to work. In October of last year (under the previous congress), the LWCF was shut down when congress voted to not re-authorize the program. The LWCF is funded by royalties paid by offshore oil and gas drilling companies, which is then put in to land conservation efforts. What a great idea, right?
The LWCF is involved in some of the most pivotal and important parks in North Carolina and the Appalachians, including the Blue Ridge Parkway and Catawba Falls.
Check out their work on the Appalachian Trail –
As an avid fly-fisher, the new protections set in place for these rivers also get me excited. While none of these rivers are my home water, I have seen first hand how development can effect a river and a watershed as a whole. Locally, a section of Howards Creek was un-fishable for months due to runoff from a construction site upstream where a house was being built. Heck, Laurel Fork is constantly in bad shape when it rains due to the concrete plant upstream polluting and contaminating the water. With this new bill, it brings me hope that change will make its way to Watauga County and Western North Carolina.
Check out this map of the key sections of the bill below.
(Credit to The Washington Post, am I even allowed to post this?) Anyway –
The National Resources Management Bill still has several hurdles to face before it becomes law. It now heads to the House of Representatives, where it is thought it will pass due to the massive bipartisanship nature shown in congress. After that, it is up to President Trump to sign it into law. Trump has repeatedly shown his stance on Public Land and Conservation with shrinking Public Land and clearing the way for mining, drilling, and other development.
At AZOR Outdoor, we’re hopeful.
Oh, and get outside today!
Edit: Passed through the house and President Trump signed it into law. Ladies and Gentlemen – We Got It!