Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Become #PublicLandsProud

Photo-Brian Cronin

You launch in the shadows of downtown, a cool water refuge amongst 500,000 people living their lives.  Most oblivious to the jewel the city has running through it, let alone the public land adjacent to it that lets anyone and everyone use it

The 4 mile float along the lower Spokane is a corridor of wildlife in the midst of urban living. Various land grants started Riverside State Park in 1933 and today it's a vital part of the health of our river and the city itself.

It offers wildlife a place to call home.  Parkland a place flourish.  An escape into nature five minutes from the front door of Nordstrom.

It's a buffer to life's craziness.  I take solace knowing I can tangle with a wild redband rainbow as thousands of cars rush overhead the Maple Street Bridge.  It's there, in perpituity because of a strange concept that we have in America

Public Lands.

There's 640 million acres of public land across our country that are there for the good of the people. Some in far off distant and remote stretches of the West, others right smack dab in the middle of cities all around the country.

It's weird because most countries around the world have NO public land that allow for the type of recreation that we just know as normal

Private rivers and forests.  Pay to play.   The domain of kings and queens

What we have is so special.  So incredibly special and yet it's at risk.

Right now,  there are interests lining up to try and take public lands out of the public trust.

They decry the federal government's waste and poor management of land in their control all while defunding the agencies that can take care of them

They want public land in federal control transferred to state's control.

Often times when that happens, states lack the ability to care and maintain that land, and boom....the land that once was public is now purchased in excess land selloffs and into private control

You're now locked out....typically to resource extraction interests.  Timber, minerals and natural gas for example

If you spend anytime outdoors, chances are you are using public lands.  Some state, some federal, it doesnt matter.

Fish, Hunt, Hike, Bike, Swim, Run, ATV, Horseriding, Ski and so many more.  It doesnt matter, we all use it together.

It's time you become #publiclandsproud, educate yourself and act

First step in the process is get to the Sportsman's Access Coalition page and sign the petition backed by the dozens of groups and businesses that stand for public access.  You're name will be added to the list delivered to governors, local politicians, congressional delegations, senators and more as one of the tens of thousands who've drawn a line in the sand on this issue.

Second, join the awesome groups like TRCP and Backcountry Hunters and Anglers.  These men and women are on the frontline of the fight to keep our land public.  They know the legislation.  They know the lands at risk and they deserve your money and support

Lastly, incorporate the hashtag #PublicLandsProud in your social media where applicable.  It will help to expand the message to others and who knows, there might be a contest or two out there sponsored by outdoor retailers who get that their success is tied to our outdoor heritage.

Imagine your favorite deer stand locked up behind a timber company gate

Imagine the boat launch roped off or the sportsman's access to your favorite river is gone.

Imagine your mountain biking trails are gone

Piss you off?  Good.  Dont let it happen on your watch.

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