No Sleeping on Public Lands Day

Our Public Lands

Saturday! Saturday! Saturday!

Like the blaring of a sleazy car salesmen announcing rock bottom prices at this weekend’s sale, something should be loudly alerting you this Saturday, the 24th of September.

This Saturday is National Public Lands Day and National Hunting and Fishing Day. Public lands and hunting and fishing are as synonymous as the used car salesman and a loaded 86’ Buick LeSabre.

Without public lands, there would be no hunting and fishing, at least for most of us. For the regular Joe, our access to the vast American system of public lands, and the health of these lands, is the only thing that makes hunting and fishing possible.

And without hunting and fishing, public lands as we know them would also cease to exist. Because of the Pittman-Robertson Act and the Dingell-Johnson Act, Acts that created excise taxes on ammunition and fishing tackle, billions of dollars have been spent on restoring fish and wildlife and their habitats across America through things wildlife restoration grants, vastly improving public lands for all.

Because hunting and fishing and public lands exist in this symbiotic manner, sportsmen and women have long been a key cog in the conservation wheel and have a deep appreciation for public lands. But unlike the 86’ Buick LeSabre, public lands can run forever and be the conduit for lifetimes of incredible outdoor adventures.

For Most of Us, No Public Lands Means No Fishing

That is, so long as we have public lands.

You see, there are a lot of crazies out there whose greedy minds can’t get off the idea that they and their cronies could loot the collective capital of our American birthright for their own personal gain.

They figure that if they could somehow wrest public lands out from under the hand of the American people while we aren’t paying attention, they could then set up another tourist trap, housing development or oil rig without all the pesky regulations that are designed to sustain public lands forever.

Problem for them is, we’re onto them. People are showing up in droves in every nook and cranny (the same places that rely heavily on public lands) each time one of these two-bit peddlers show up (see Condon, MT just the other day) with their dog and pony show speaking half-truths at best, and devious lies at worst, about how states and corporations would be better off controlling the lands all Americans have had the privilege of owning for over 100 years.

The blaring getting any louder?

If you hunt, fish, camp, hike, drink water and breathe air — yes, that means all of you — then you should jump off your keister right now and say hell no!

Removing public lands from the public trust just may be the worst public policy idea to come around in my lifetime. Talk about biting the hand that feeds us!

So this Saturday you ought to think of public lands differently. You should think of them as your priceless treasure that someone is trying to rob from you right out from under your nose. This Saturday, National Public Lands day and National Hunting and Fishing Day, you should draw a line in the sand; you should vehemently declare that no politician, business man, peddler or snake oil salesman will rob you of the smile on your child’s face with her first fish, the exhilaration of the view from the top of your favorite mountain, the clean air provided by our beautiful national forests or those annual hunting trips with your grandfather.

Not now. Not ever.

Get out and enjoy and protect your public lands. They’re yours and will always be, as long as your care for and protect them like the immeasurable gift they are.