The national budget bill passed by the House of Representatives affects anyone who spends time in the backcountry non-hunters and hunters. Anyone who cares deeply about wildlife and public access to wild spaces should be concerned about language in the legislation that prohibits the Bureau of Land Management from working with local stakeholders to conserve backcountry lands, as currently directed under the BLM wildlands order.
Interior Secretary Ken Salazar announced the BLM wildlands order in December to reinstate consistent consideration of wild public lands, as required by law. Salazar's order ensures that the BLM will consider the planning and management of wild public lands through public processes at the local field office level.
This order makes sense. Backcountry public lands, like the island ranges of Utah's west desert, provide habitat security for Utah's big game herds. Hunters who care about the future of these lands and about our outdoor traditions should loudly support the recent wildlands order, which benefits our Western traditions and our recreation-based economy.
As the bill now goes to the Senate, make your opinion known to Sens. Orrin Hatch and Mike Lee. They need to strip out this terrible provision.
Salt Lake City