LWCF Advocates

Big Fin

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Tomorrow is the day LWCF will likely die, at age 50, unless some miracle happens.

It is worthy to note that tomorrow morning, Governors Mead from Wyoming (R) and Bullock from Montana (D), will testify in front of the House Natural Resources Committee, a committee Chaired by the anti-access, anti-public land, anti-business, anti-hunting, "anti-anything other than what makes him feel good that day," Rep. Rob Bishop from Utah.

I suspect Governor Mead will take some heat because he has shown great leadership on the sage grouse issue in Wyoming. Bishop is not happy that Governor Mead has actually looked for sage grouse solutions, rather than the head in the sand (or elsewhere) approach so common among crisis carnies from Utah. Add on top of that Governor Mead's support for reauthorization of LWCF and Bishop et al might need to be scraped off the committee room ceiling, even if they are of the same party.

Governor Bullock has done a similar job in Montana, advocating for solutions on sage grouse rather than litigate or ESA listing. He has supported LWCF since he took office.

Anyone interested in watching the hearing can view it here at 8:00am MST.

http://naturalresources.house.gov/live/

Bishop has made public statements, even issuing such on behalf of the House NR Committee, that so long as he is Chairman, LWCF will not be reauthorized without huge changes. The changes he wants are such to make the program nothing more than a city parks and bike path program. Fits his ideology, as he hates public lands and he far prefers urban bike paths.

Bishop's rise to power in this committee and his crybaby manner of operating is a perfect example of the adolescent small-minded selfish thinking that seems to have taken over the DC world. No discussion; no compromise; no listening to other committee members within his party. Nope, he's Chairman; it's his way or no way.

It is pleasing that we have a Republican Governor in Wyoming, a Democratic Governor in Montana, a Republican and a Democratic Senator from Montana, and Republican Congressmen from Montana all supporting LWCF. Republican Senators from the south and Democrats from the Midwest have joined to support renewing LWCF. Yet, the way the power structure works in DC, a few fringe operators are able to derail something that has created/preserved/simplified tens of millions of acres of hunting access; the Land and Water Conservation Fund.

I always say the fringe is the home of big egos and small ideas. As if he needed to provide any further evidence, Bishop and his cronies once again moved their stake further to the far edge of the fringe.

So, if LWCF dies, and it likely will, hunters lose big and Rob Bishop et al wins their ideological battle with the rest of the country. A man on a mission to kill the best public access program American has found. And as he proclaims, there has been $20 Billion diverted from the account. Yet, he has made no mention of any intention to allow that money to be spent on public land access and conservation.

In spite of the rancor and the disappointment that will come with the loss of this program, there have been some good champions for the cause, from both sides of the aisle. It is worthy to note a few of them who are continuing to fight until the last second goes off the clock and are willing to do so in what will be an openly hostile setting in the House Natural Resources Committee. Anyone who doubts the anti-public land agenda is alive and well in DC will probably have a different feeling if Bishop, McClintock and pals rake Governors Mead and Bullock over the coals as they do any other supporters of public lands.

Thanks to Governors Mead and Governor Bullock. Greatly appreciated.
 
Joined
Aug 21, 2014
Messages
221
Location
MN
Thanks for the info Fin, this is gonna be felt from the swamps to the prairies and the shores to the mountains. It's sad when a minority hijacks a majority in the name of greed.
 

Oneye

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May 26, 2015
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So if the program expires... I'm just wondering, will their be the opportunity to still renew it at some point?
 

hank4elk

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Jan 8, 2015
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SW NM
Greedy A-wipes!

I've decided to confront all politicos I meet in person with the truth and facts that show their lies ...in public.
 

Nameless Range

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Western Montana
Such a bummer. You don't read about LWCF in the national news, and maybe that is part of the problem. Using the search functions on the Big 2 (CNN,Fox News), a search for 'LWCF' yielded no results in one and a list of programs to be axed in another. No description, no explanation.

So realistically LWCF is gone. Moving forward with the bipartisan support we see today, perhaps a movement can be made to create a replacement. Man, when I look at all of the access and all of the places provided to us by LWCF, I have a lot of memories and associations.

Check out the Sportsman's Atlas and turn on the LWCF layers. Quite a loss.
 

Big Fin

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Some have asked how I can use the term anti-hunting to explain those who want to kill LWCF based on their hatred for public lands. Well, I'll connect the two dots for those wondering.

In 2009 and 2010 the NSSF did surveys as to the causes for people quitting hunting, hunting less, or coming from a hunting family and no getting into hunting. The top answer was always "lack of accessible lands to hunt on." That result was not a surprise, given all of us have struggled with the access challenges.

It's that simple; for hunting to prosper we must continue to improve access. The future of hunting relies on accessible lands for us to hunt. No program has provided more permanent access than LWCF. In fact, no other program even comes close.

Connecting those two dots, if you are a politician promoting an anti-public land agenda; if you are a politician trying to kill programs like LWCF and other manners by which access is improved, in my mind, your position is an anti-hunting position. Less obvious than the HSUS crowd, but possibly more damaging over the long run. Time for hunters to call these ideologies for what they are, an attack on the future of hunting.

This next paragraph pains me to write, as I have been a long time member of the NRA; currently a life member. Yet, if there is one group in DC that could tell this anti-public land fringe to stand down and shut up on the access issue, it is the NRA. Everyone knows the NRA has that sway with these fringe operators. And everyone is afraid to ask why the NRA is willing to stand silent while our most important hunting access program dies on the vine. I don't have an answer for why they have been silent or why the media is unwilling to ask the NRA that hard question.

I am asking the question, "Where was the NRA when hunters needed them for access, for LWCF?"

They weren't in any of the meetings putting pressure on the opponents to LWCF. They weren't using their huge media machine to influence public opinion on the topic. They voiced some reservations about LWCF for reasons most hunters struggle to understand. And that was all the LWCF opponents needed for the political cover to go after LWCF and claim a victory in their battle against public lands. Maybe one of the NRA folks who lurk and read this forum will send me an email with an explanation. Until then, it is disappointing to see a group that does such a great job on our 2A issues sit silent on an issue that will have such a huge impact on hunting access.
 

Straight Arrow

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Gallatin Gateway, MT
When I became a licensed Montana hunter in 1957, the educational component of the program was the NRA HUNTER SAFETY HANDBOOK. It seems NRA has moved away from the strong emphasis on firearm safety education, particularly with respect to hunting. Emphasis on ownership and use of firearms for hunting has obviously shifted to a more prominent emphasis on 2nd Amendment rights and political posturing and lobbying to influence Congress.

It does not surprise me, but it certainly disappoints me that NRA is not willing to employ influence in lobbying for LWCF, which is so important to wildlife habitat and hunting .... which in turn is critical for most firearms owners. I no longer support NRA.
 

Nameless Range

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It does not surprise me, but it certainly disappoints me that NRA is not willing to employ influence in lobbying for LWCF, which is so important to wildlife habitat and hunting .... which in turn is critical for most firearms owners. I no longer support NRA.

When the NRA supported the Roadless Area Release Act, hunters should have been watching. Though you cannot look solely to the values of financial contributors to an organization to identify that organization's values, it certainly can be an indicator. So let's not ignore the fact that the Oil and Gas Industry supplies the NRA with nearly 1/3 of their annual funds. The same Oil and Gas Industry that salivates at the mouth when the transfer of public lands is brought up.

Couple that with the fact that the NRA remains silent while what is arguably our greatest hunting/fishing access program dies along with the potential access of tommorow, I as a sportsman, have little need for the NRA.
 

Oak

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It is amazing that in a state with such a rich outdoor heritage, that residents of Utah are not banging down the door of Bishop's office over this issue.
 

Croz

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Gross... just gross.

Let's hope there aren't many more dominoes to fall...
 

Ben Lamb

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If the majority in the House feels the heat, there still can be action taken, albeit more difficult, the get LWCF reauthorized. However, that means every hunter in the United States needs to stand up and be counted. This issue could have easily been put to bed, but Rob Bishop's agenda is failing yet again, and so his solution is to lash out at the Land & Water Conservation Fund.

That is the tactic of a child. If he wants to act like a child, then he needs to get spanked.

You can call his office at: 202-225-0453

You can email him at: http://robbishop.house.gov/contact/zipauth.htm

He is the chairman of the Natural Resources Committee in the House. That committee oversees public land management and programs like LWCF. Take a moment to find your representative on that committee and politely ask them why they let LWC expire and didn't stand up to Bishop's bullying:

Committee contact page: https://naturalresources.house.gov/contact/

Here is the full committee list: http://naturalresources.house.gov/about/members.htm

As for the NRA, here is their contact page: https://contact.nra.org/contact-us.aspx

Unless the NRA's members inform them of their misdeed, the NRA will have no need to change their direction and will continue to sell hunters out to the politicians and lobbyists.

Don't sit on the internet and complain - Stand up and fight back. You are mother nature's bodygaurds, and you're heavily armed.
 

RobG

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Thanks Tester for bringing this to my attention around 2011 or 2012 by hosting an event about it. Thanks Randy and Ben Lamb for keeping it alive here. Thanks, Hellgate Hunters and Becky Edwards of Mountain Mommas for their efforts to keep it in the public eye by through the Sportsman Access and even billboards.

With our bipartisan delegation on board I thought this was going through and was caught flat footed. Maybe if we made it more important to our respective delegations they would have made it a bigger issue for Bishop, I don't know.
 

Big Fin

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Thanks Tester for bringing this to my attention around 2011 or 2012 by hosting an event about it. Thanks Randy and Ben Lamb for keeping it alive here. Thanks, Hellgate Hunters and Becky Edwards of Mountain Mommas for their efforts to keep it in the public eye by through the Sportsman Access and even billboards.

With our bipartisan delegation on board I thought this was going through and was caught flat footed. Maybe if we made it more important to our respective delegations they would have made it a bigger issue for Bishop, I don't know.

It comes down to this. The leadership on the House side is too chickenshit to reel in the wingnut factions like Bishop. It's that simple. Bishop is insulated from any election worries, so he is like a bully on the playground with all the other kids running scared. He knows it and he plays it that way.

If someone in his party would grow the stones to do something about it and tell him to shut up on this issue, it would have a chance. But, given the dysfunction on both sides; with leaders in both parties more worried about posturing for positions within their caucus, nobody is going to say a word to him.

Rep. Zinke of Montana sits on the committee. He is a freshman Congressman. He could come out and make a statement, but reality is, he would get defrocked behind closed doors and placed on cafeteria detail. He publicly supports the program in Montana, which is to be commended. Yet, in DC, he and the other freshmen hold no power.

When you have guys like Rand Paul carving out time for private meetings with the Welfare King of the West and one of Bishops pals, Cliven Bundy, and Paul holding a lot of sway with the outcome of the Presidential nomination, Bishop's ideology goes unopposed.

When another prominent Republican Presidential Candidate, Ted Cruz, sponsors bills that require the Feds to sell lands to get down to less than 50% ownership in any state; when he personally hosts the profiteer of the anti-public land movement, UT state Rep. Ken Ivory, it creates another veil of insulation for Bishop, McClintock, Lummis, and the rest of the anti-access crowd in the House.

Not sure if ever it has been more clear than it is today. The anti-access, anti-public land, anti-(insert here) movement in DC is calling the shots on western land issues. We hunters are getting steam rolled. And unfortunately, the large majority of those screwing us over on access and public lands are the ones who claim they are our friends because they vote good on guns.

I wish I knew what it would take to get hunters pissed off enough to hold these folks accountable. The links Ben Lamb provided are very helpful. I would ask all of you to write one email to your delegation on the topic. Writing letters to the editor of local papers. Contact hunting/fishing publication and ask why they are not hammering this topic and informing their readers. Talk to state Legislators or County Commissions about what this does to hunting. Voice concern to anyone who is connected to the process. Holding these folks accountable is the only option.

This morning I spent time on calls with the staff of Senators Daines (R) and Tester (D). Both state that it is going to take an uprising from the public to create the pressure for change on these public land and access issues. To create enough of a problem that the House and Senate leadership has no choice but to tell Bishop and others to shut up.

Not sure if that will happen. I hope it does. Thanks to all who are, and all who have, done things to let Congress know that this kick in the sack to hunters is not acceptable.

The LWCF battle is just one of many targets they have on their radar. Time to stand and fight.
 

wolfpup

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Jul 14, 2015
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408
Thanks to Big Fin for keeping us up to date! I know I would not known about the issues at hand without your guidance. Advice taken, emails and calls sent to the above contact info!
 

NKQualtieri

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Jun 4, 2015
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Bozeman, MT
It's interesting to watch the live twitter feed currently on the #LCWF hashtag: https://twitter.com/search?q=#LWCF&src=tyah

The feed being dominated at the moment by both Daines, Tester, and Alexander on the floor.

You can listen live to the ongoing proceedings here: http://floor.senate.gov/MediaPlayer.php?view_id=2&event_id=531

Randy--because this is funded by oil/gas funds, would the reason behind the GOP not supporting be because of pressure from the oil/gas lobby? Seems like that would be the case, as this is not an issue of taxpayer dollars if I'm reading this correctly.
 

jzeck2

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Dec 31, 2013
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So why do we all keep our life memberships to the NRA, it is obvious to me that they care less about hunters???
 

Big Fin

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Randy--because this is funded by oil/gas funds, would the reason behind the GOP not supporting be because of pressure from the oil/gas lobby? Seems like that would be the case, as this is not an issue of taxpayer dollars if I'm reading this correctly.

Actually, the O&G industry is fine with this. It is a royalty they pay, no matter what. It is just a very small portion from offshore O&G that goes to this fund. The O&G industry agreed to this as part of the deal it took to open up the offshore to drilling. Since then, O&G has not at all complained about this.

It is about ideologies; anti-public land and anti-public access ideology led by the wingnuts. We see it in their efforts to de-fund the public land agencies. We see it in their efforts to make sure BLM royalty rates are well below market rates. We see it in their efforts to prohibit conservation groups from bidding on leases of wildlife-sensitive areas. We see it in their efforts to keep grazing rates at less than 10% of market rates on adjacent private lands. We see it when ..........
 

mrmedora

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Feb 12, 2010
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SW North Dakota
jzeck2,

I think we need to remember that the core of the NRA is the 2nd amendment, not necessarily hunting/access to public lands. While most of us on this site are hunting junkies, not all gun owners are. I'm not a NRA member because I can't stand all the mail and phone calls, but do support them at our local events. I feel they do a nice job for gun ownership, and would hate to see the service they do go away. I think we would all suffer.

Scott
 

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