“Public lands should be open to all Americans. It is shocking to see self-proclaimed defenders of public lands in Congress vote to perpetuate a permanent ban on bikers, parents, the disabled, or certain hunters from accessing public lands. I’m proud to stand with Rep. McClintock in fighting for American citizens who are tired of government officials telling them they can’t enjoy our nation’s public lands,” said House Committee on Natural Resources Chairman Rob Bishop.
Out-of control wilderness designations, an exploding number of areas of critical environmental concern (ACEC), and efforts to prohibit mining and grazing on public lands continue to put multiple use of our federal lands at risk. Each Congress dozens of bills are introduced that would further erode multiple use of federal lands. The Caucus will continue to oppose such legislation while supporting efforts to promote hunting and fishing opportunities, and support other recreational activities such as snowmobiling, skiing, and responsible off-road vehicle use on federal lands.
Members of Congress and the federal government are constantly faced with the challenge of finding a balance between protecting federal lands and making them available for public use. This concept is known as the multiple-use doctrine.
The BLM further describes this important principle in its handbook:
Public lands must be managed in a manner that protects the quality of scientific, scenic, historical, ecological, environmental, air and atmospheric, water resource, and archaeological values; that, where appropriate, will preserve and protect certain public lands in their natural condition; that will provide food and habitat for fish and wildlife and domestic animals; that will provide for outdoor recreation and human occupancy and use; and that recognizes the Nation’s need for domestic sources of minerals, food, timber, and fiber from the public lands by encouraging collaboration and public participation throughout the planning process.
No reasonable person can disagree with this management strategy. It is a simple fact that we must balance desires to preserve land with our need for food and natural resources. Unfortunately, there are extremist environmental groups who do not support the multiple use doctrine for public lands. Instead, they believe that public land should be closed to essential human activities. We must manage our public lands responsibly in order to ensure water quality, wildlife habitat and the multiple-use of our public land base. We need our public lands to be used in a way that appeals to all of our citizens, not just a single group. The Western Caucus believes our public lands hold great benefits for all of us, and the ability to use these resources in an environmentally friendly manner is imperative to ensure their long-term vitality and economic growth. Multiple-use is a key element of responsible public lands management.
The Sportsmen's Heritage and Recreational Enhancement Act or the “SHARE Act”