Hunters, Anglers, Economy Sustained by Protected Public Lands

Report Urges Western Governors to Heed Sportsmen’s Economic Contributions, Views in Roadless Debate SEDONA, ARIZ. - Western governors grappling over the future of designated roadless areas in their states should pay close attention to the voices and economic muscle of hunters and anglers, according to a new report to be released Wednesday by the Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership and Sonoran Institute. At the annual meeting of the Western Governors’ Association, the groups are highlighting the strong link between the excellent outdoors opportunities on protected public land and prosperous local economies in communities adjacent to those landscapes. “If hunters and anglers comprised a corporation, they’d be in the top 3 percent of the Fortune 500 list,” said Bill Geer, a Policy Initiative Manager for the Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership. “By virtue of their economic impact alone, sportsmen’s views on land protection need to be at the forefront as our governors consider whether to petition for the protection of inventoried roadless areas in their states.” Under a new rule established last year by the Bush administration, governors can petition the U.S. Forest Service to protect public land primarily accessed by trails – referred to as “roadless” areas. New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson recently became the first western governor to file a petition under the new rule, requesting the protection of 1.6 million acres of roadless land in New Mexico. The deadline for the submission of petitions is November 2006. The groups’ new report, “Backcountry Bounty: Hunters, Anglers and Prosperity in the American West,” shows that undeveloped public lands are increasingly an economic asset for western communities, attracting hunters, anglers, new residents, and visitors. “Hunters and anglers are the bedrock of conservation tradition,” said Luther Propst, Executive Director of the Sonoran Institute. “They often seek out protected roadless lands that preserve habitat and wildlife – and access to those lands is critical. We encourage the decision to protect public lands to preserve the prosperity they bring to local communities, as well as the biological, intrinsic, historic, and cultural value they provide today, and to future generations.” “The TRCP wants to make sure that hunters and anglers are heard in the debate around future public land management, and this report adds volume to their concerns,” said Geer. “The data clearly show that keeping lands and waters pristine makes more than just good common sense – it makes good business sense too.” The Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership is a coalition of leading conservation organizations and individual grassroots partners, working together to conserve fish and wildlife and their habitat, increase funding for conservation and management, and expand access to places to hunt and fish. The Sonoran Institute promotes community decisions that respect the land and people of the West. A non-profit organization established in 1990, the Institute provides people with practical resources to create local solutions about how to use land and water, and how those decisions shape our future. For a copy of the report please reply to this email, or go to www.trcp.org