March 16, 2014 – Stan Steel, Chairmen of the Board
On Wednesday, February 5, 2014, The U.S. House of Representatives passed H.R. 3590, the Sportsmen’s Heritage and Recreational Enhancement Act, or the SHARE Act, that statutorily protects your right to hunt, fish and target shoot on federal lands across America.
To view the entire bill go to the below listed website.
“This legislation ensures that Americans’ ability to fish and hunt will not be arbitrarily subject to limitation by the whim of federal bureaucrats. It also makes clear that public lands are ‘open until closed’ to such recreational activities, and it absolutely makes clear that President Obama’s activist EPA does not have the authority to regulate ammunition and fishing tackle,” said Natural Resources Committee Chairman Doc Hastings. “Hunting, fishing, and recreational shooting are long-standing American traditions that deserve protection, which is exactly what this bill provides. This important legislation is not a solution in search of a problem, but a necessary response to bureaucratic threats to fishing, hunting, and recreational shooting that are very real.”
How Did Oregon’s Delegation Vote?
Two of Oregon’s five Oregon Congressmen voted with 266 of their congressional colleagues to protect your access to public lands for the purposes of hunting, fishing and recreational shooting. Three Oregon Congressmen evidently do not believe you or your rights on those lands are important enough to protect and joined 151 of their anti-hunting, anti-fishing and anti-target shooting protégés by voting “Nay”.
By voting “Yay” for the SHARE Act, Oregon Representatives Greg Walden, Republican, (OR 2), and Kurt Schrader, Democrat, (OR 5), demonstrated that they understand and support the economic and social importance of hunting, fishing and recreational shooting and that protecting your rights as sportsmen is as important as protecting the rights of other public land recreationists.
However, it should come as no surprise to Oregon’s 1 million sportsmen that Representative’s Peter DeFazio, Democrat, (OR 4), Suzanne Bonamici, Democrat, (OR 1), and Earl Blumenauer, Democrat, (OR 3), voted “Nay,” evidently they would like to see you and your outdoor traditions disappear. Clearly hunting, fishing and recreational shooting just isn’t in sync with their views on whom and how our federal lands should be used and managed. Rep. Bonamici, Rep. Earl Blumenauer, and Rep. Peter DiFazio, were included in the 154 Democrats who voted against the SHARE Act. 227 House republicans joined 41 House democrats by voting “Yay” to protect your right to access and use the 31 million acres of land controlled and managed by the federal government in Oregon.
Who Manages Oregon’s Public Land?
The two principle federal land management agencies in Oregon are the U.S. Forest Service and the Bureau of Land Management with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers controlling smaller but not necessarily less important recreational lands. The U.S. Forest Service manages 15.7 million acres and the BLM administers 15.6 million acres in Oregon. In comparison, the state manages about 3% or a little over 800,000 acres. With 53% of Oregon’s land base in federal ownership it is critical to the future of hunting, fishing and recreational shooting that congressional measures such as the SHARE Act are supported by our federally elected representatives.
Why Political Action?
The Oregon Outdoor Council believes that sometimes it does take an act of congress to protect our unique outdoor heritages from the unending litigation and political maneuvering of the anti-hunting, anti-fishing and anti-gun activist movements. Abuses of the federal rule-making process and continual National Environmental Policy Act litigation by well-organized and financed anti-hunting, anti-fishing and anti-shooting activists have eroded the effectiveness of the core principles of the North American Model of Wildlife Conservation. The model’s core principles – that our fish and wildlife resources belong to all Americans, and that they must to be managed in a manner that their populations will be forever sustainable, require legal protection more today than at any time in our nation’s history. The benefits that these principles and their Seven Sisters for Conservation guidelines have provided our nation’s natural resources and its citizens are unsurpassed anywhere in the world. The Sportsmen’s Hunting and Recreational Heritage Act would statutorily ensure that every citizen has an equal opportunity, under the law, to hunt, fish and recreational shooting on the nation’s federally managed lands.
Are Sportsmen Really Impacted By These Two Legislators?
Representative Suzanne Bonamici’s congressional district stretches from McMinnville to Astoria and encompasses the Saddle Mt., Willamette, Scappoose, Wilson and Trask state wildlife management units. The decision to lawfully hunt for Roosevelt elk, blacktail deer, bear and waterfowl or fish for salmon and steelhead on federally managed lands and rivers should be up to you and your personal decision should have been supported by Rep. Bonamici. It was not, Representative Suzanne Bonamici voted “Nay.”
Representative Earl Blumenauer’s congressional district (OR D – 3) is geographically Oregon’s smallest congressional district but most densely populated. His district has significant federal land holdings, including the Mt. Hood National Forest, Columbia Gorge, Clackamas and Sandy Rivers and the Willamette, Santiam and Mt. Hood state wildlife management units which are the backyard playgrounds for many residents of Oregon’s largest metropolitan area. Maintaining recreational access to significant federal lands for hunting, fishing and target shooting is extremely important to hundreds of thousands of the Portland metro area citizens, but evidently not to Representative Blumenauer. Representative Earl Blumenauer voted “Nay.”
Representative Peter DaFazio’s congressional district (OR D – 4), is bordered on the north by the North Santiam River corridor, extends east to the summit of the Cascades and roughly follows the Pacific Crest Trail south to Diamond Lake where it stair steps southwest to the California border before returning north up the Oregon coast to the U.S. Forest Service’s Cummins Creek Wilderness area. His district includes all or parts of the Rogue, Applegate, Chetco, Sixes, Powers, Evans Creek, Dixon, Indigo, McKenzie, Santiam, Tioga, Siuslaw, Alsea and Willamette state wildlife management units.
The U.S. Forest Service’s managed lands in Representative DeFazio’s district include the Siuslaw, Siskiyou, Rogue River, Umpqua and Willamette National Forests. Representative DeFazio’s congressional district’s countryside is inhabited by an incredible array of fish and wildlife that provide millions of hours of recreational pleasure to resident and non-resident hunters and anglers and provide hundreds of tourism and retail jobs that stimulate rural economies.
Whether you choose to hunt the steep slopes of the U.S. Forest Service’s Kalmiopsis Wilderness for black bear or fish for winter steelhead and fall Chinook in the riffled waters of the Siuslaw River that meanders through thousands of acres of Bureau of Land Management controlled lands, your right of choice and access should have been protected by Representative DeFazio by voting for, not against the SHARE Act. Oregon’s hunters, anglers and recreational shooters would have been better served had Representative DeFazio, the ranking member of the Committee on Natural Resources, voted to protect their right to access and their right to engage in traditional practices on all federal lands as outlined in the SHARE Act. Representative Peter DaFazio voted “Nay” and by doing so he sent a strong message to his recreational hunting, fishing and shooting constituents.
The question for hunters, anglers and recreational shooters to ask the “Nay” voting Oregon Congressmen should be simple and to the point.
You did not vote to pass the Sportsmen’s Heritage and Recreational Enhancement Act, which contains protections we clearly need as a sporting conservation community, “So why should we vote for you?”
The next step in the political process for the SHARE Act will occur in the U.S. Senate. The Oregon Outdoor Council urges hunters, anglers and recreational shooters throughout Oregon to contact their respective Senator and request that they demonstrate strong leadership and an unwavering commitment to conservation and our heritage by moving the SHARE Act to the Senate floor for a vote. We believe that the statutory protections provided by the Senate’s passage of the Sportsmen’s Heritage and Recreational Enhancement Act could very well be the single most significant piece of federal legislation protecting our right to hunt, fish and recreationally shoot in America in the last several decades. We also believe that our use of these lands and their natural resources should not become just another example of partisan gridlock in Washington D.C..
Oregon’s U.S. Senators and their contact information:
Senator Ron Wyden:
Senator Jeff Merkley:
The Oregon Outdoor Council, along with the following state and national conservation organizations support the Sportsmen’s Hunting and Recreational Enhancement Act.
American Sportfishing Association
National Wild Turkey Federation
Archery Trade Association
North American Grouse Partnership
Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies
Pheasants Forever, Inc
Boone & Crockett Club
Pope and Young Club
Bowhunting Preservation Alliance
Campfire Club of America
Quality Deer Management Association
Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation
Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation
Ruffed Grouse Society
Safari Club International
Dallas Safari Club
Shimano American Corporation
Delta Waterfowl Foundation
Texas Wildlife Association
Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership
Izaak Walton League of America
Masters of Foxhounds Association
United States Sportsmen’s Association
Mule Deer Foundation
National Rifle Association
National Shooting Sports Foundation
Wildlife Management Institute
National Trappers Association
The Oregon Outdoor Council has contacted Rep. Bonamici, Rep. Blumenauer and Rep. DeFazio’s Washington D.C. office staff and requested that the respective Representative provide an explanation for his/her lack of support of the SHARE Act. We will provide you with their responses upon their receipt.
Keep Oregon Hunting and Fishing
Stan Steele, Chairman of the Board (Left) – Pictured with Gary Loomis (Front).
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