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Sportsmen to candidates: Speak up for public lands

Coalition of 40-plus organizations seek assurance that public lands will stay in public hands.

WASHINGTON – More than 40 sportsmen’s and outdoor organizations from across the country have asked all the presidential candidates to publicly state their support for our national public lands – the places we hunt, fish and recreate and that sustain our fish and wildlife populations.

The 40 organizations, representing millions of hunters, anglers, wildlife watchers and other outdoors enthusiasts, have sent a letter earlier to Republican Donald Trump, Democrat Hillary Clinton, LibertarianGary Johnson and Green Party nominee Jill Stein to ask them to publicly commit to “keeping public lands in public hands.”

The National Wildlife Federation and its state affiliates are also contacting other candidates, seeking their public endorsement of a statement of principles that opposes turning over public lands to individual states, selling them to private interests or undermining federal management of the lands that belong to all Americans.

While the majority of Americans cherish our national public lands, the sporting and outdoor organizations note that a small but strident group of state and federal lawmakers and their allies is trying to dismantle the network of public lands that is a cornerstone of our economy and national identity.

“Our national tapestry of public lands is the product of more than a century of leadership by both Republicans and Democrats,” the organizations wrote to the presidential hopefuls. “America’s hunters and anglers have a special interest in our public lands. Some of our most treasured big game animals depend on the secure habitat and migration corridors that are provided by public land. Many sportfish species depend on cool, clean waters that originate on public lands.”

The presidential campaigns have “an opportunity to explain to the American people how you will maintain our public lands for future generations,” the groups wrote.

Sportsmen's and outdoor groups from across the country have asked all the presidential candidates to publicly support public lands. Image: Brian BrooksSportsmen's and outdoor groups from across the country have asked all the presidential candidates to publicly support public lands. Image: Brian Brooks

The following groups signed the letters to the presidential candidates:  Archery Trade Association · Arizona Wildlife Federation · Arkansas Wildlife Federation Association of Northwest Steelheaders · Backcountry Hunters and Anglers · Bear Trust International · Campfire Club of America · Colorado Wildlife Federation · Conservation Federation of Missouri · Conservation Force · Conservation Northwest · Dallas Safari Club Houston · Safari Club · Idaho Wildlife Federation · Iowa Wildlife Federation · Kansas Wildlife Federation · Louisiana Wildlife Federation · Masters of Foxhounds Association · Mississippi Wildlife Federation · National Trappers Association · National Wild Turkey Federation · National Wildlife Federation · Nevada Wildlife Federation · New Mexico Wildlife Federation · North American Grouse Partnership · North Carolina Wildlife Federation · North Dakota Wildlife Federation · Orion the Hunter’s Institute · Public Lands Foundation · Quality Deer Management Association · Shikar Safari Club International · Sportsmen’s Alliance · South Dakota Wildlife Federation · Tennessee Wildlife Federation · Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership · Tread Lightly! · Trout Unlimited · Whitetails Unlimited · Wildlife Management Institute · Wyoming Wildlife Federation · Montana Wildlife Federation

Please note: the National Wildlife Federation and the co-signers of these letters do not participate in political campaigns, nor do we endorse, support or oppose any political party or any candidates for elected office.

Read more about the organizations' statements.

Sportsmen's Bill of Rights