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SFRED invites students to submit essays on public lands—deadline extended

SFRED invites students ages 15-19 to write about what public lands mean to them. Winners will receive an all expenses paid trip to Washington D.C. Deadline is Jan. 31.

Sportsmen for Responsible Energy Development, a coalition dedicated to balancing energy development with conservation on public lands invites students to tell us what public lands have meant in their lives in the first ever SFRED Youth Essay Contest. Five winners selected by a panel of representatives from the three SFRED partner organizations will receive a trip to Washington, D.C., to meet with members of each winner’s congressional delegation as well as leaders from the administration and national conservation groups.


Photo by Lew CarpenterPhoto by Lew CarpenterOur nation’s public lands – national forests, parks, monuments, wildlife refuges, sagebrush steppe, backcountry – are a fundamentally important American legacy. Leaders and advocates of the past had the foresight to recognize the great value of the conserving these lands for generations of Americans.

These lands are sources of clean water, fish, wildlife and other natural resources. They are where many of us develop our appreciation of nature and where we learn to hunt and fish. Public lands are critical to our economy, our way of life and our identity.

Now, we look to our young hunters, anglers and other outdoors enthusiasts to continue enjoying and conserving this great gift so they pass it along to the next generations. In a recent speech, Interior Secretary Sally Jewell  emphasized the crucial role the nation’s youth will play in maintaining our public-lands heritage:

“For the health of our economy and our public lands, it’s critical that we work now to establish meaningful and deep connections between young people – from every background and every community – and the great outdoors.”  Oct. 31, 2013, in a speech at the National Press Club, Washington, D.C.

Sportsmen for Responsible Energy Development is a coalition led by the National Wildlife Federation, the Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership and Trout Unlimited. The SFRED coalition wants to encourage the next generation of conservation leaders and is soliciting essays/blogs on the theme “The importance of public lands to me.” The five winners selected by a panel of representatives from the three SFRED partner organizations will receive a trip to Washington, D.C., to meet with members of each winner’s congressional delegation as well as leaders from the administration and national conservation groups.


Contestants Must Be:
• From 15 to 19 years old
• A hunter or angler who uses or aspires to use public lands for outdoor recreation

The Essay/Blog Must Be:
• The work of the submitter
• Center around the theme of “The importance of public lands to me.”
• Describe the importance of public lands (lands managed by the Bureau of Land Management, National Park Service, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, US Bureau of Reclamation or other federal agency)
• Up to 800 words and may include photos

• Submitted to Brad Powell, Senior Policy Director of the Sportsmen's Conservation Project at Trout Unlimited, bpowell@tu.org, no later than 11:59 PM EDT on Jan. 31, 2014.

General Terms and Conditions

By entering the contest, entrants grant Trout Unlimited, National Wildlife Federation and the Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership a royalty-free, non-exclusive, irrevocable permission to use, reproduce, prepare derivative works, distribute copies to the public, and display publicly the essays/blogs.

Contest Winners

The contest winners will travel to Washington, D.C., to meet with leaders of national conservation organizations, their congressional delegations and key leaders of federal agencies. The winners’ airfare, lodging and food expenses will be covered.


Facts About Public Lands:
• Our national parks, forests, wildlife refuges, monuments, wilderness areas, and lands managed by the Bureau of Land Management comprise about 28 percent of the land base of the United States, or roughly 640 million acres.
• Four agencies administer 609 million acres of this land: the Forest Service in the Department of Agriculture; and the National Park Service, Bureau of Land Management, the Fish and Wildlife Service, all in the Department of the Interior. 
• Most of these lands are in 11 Western states. For example, about 81 percent of the land in Nevada is managed by the federal government while the total in Wyoming is 48 percent and nearly 35 percent in New Mexico
• Our public lands are managed for many purposes, primarily related to conservation, recreation and the development of natural resources.
From “Federal Land Ownership: Overview and Data,” http://www.fas.org/sgp/crs/misc/R42346.pdf

• The Department of the Interior: http://www.doi.gov/index.cfm
• “Conserving Lands and Prosperity: Seeking a Proper Balance Between Conservation and Development in the Rocky Mountain West,” SFRED: http://sfred.org/media-center/featured-reports/conserving-lands-and-prosperity/introduction/
• “Valuing Our Western Public Lands: Safeguarding Our Economy and Way of Life:” http://bit.ly/16Mgi1r
• The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service 2011 National Survey of Fishing, Hunting and Wildlife-Associated Recreation: http://www.census.gov/prod/2012pubs/fhw11-nat.pdf
• ``The Outdoor Recreation Economy’’ by the Outdoor Industry Association: http://bit.ly/14MF7M0.

Sportsmen's Bill of Rights