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  • January 26, 2011

    How Protected Are U.S. Waterways?

    By Hal Herring

    by Hal Herring

    Few hunters and fishermen that I talk with these days are aware that the United States no longer has an effective Clean Water Act. We go along, hunting the ducks and geese, fishing the rivers, drinking the water from our faucets at home, and swimming with our children, content in the knowledge that our country would never allow something like the seething stink of China’s once mighty Yangtze River, or the feculent Ganges of India, or the brazenly-poisoned industrial effluent rivers of our neighbors in Mexico.

    And we go along in the happy, contented ignorance of small children who never question where the groceries come from, or why the house is warm and dry. It just is.

    Until it isn’t.

  • January 11, 2011

    A Response to Congressman Heller

    By Hal Herring

    Editor's Note:
    Conservationist blogger Hal Herring’s post last week about politicians not understanding sportsmen’s concerns drew numerous passionate responses, including one from Congressman Dean Heller (R-NV). This is Herring’s rebuttal to that post.

    Representative Heller, I appreciate your taking the time to reply to my post here at, and I am glad to learn that hunters and fishermen have a fellow sportsman in Congress. It is a comfort, these days, to have a representative that shares our concerns, and can be counted on to stand strong in the face of the anti-gun, anti-hunting forces that gain power as our nation becomes more urban, and more disconnected from the land and the essential values of liberty and its sire, self-sufficiency.

    I would not make assumptions about your experience as a sportsman or your knowledge of the vast estate of public lands in the state of Nevada, but based upon what you have written here, I wonder if you are familiar with the Federal Land Policy and Management Act of 1976, which is the law of our land, passed by the Congress that you serve. Under the heading “Bureau of Land Management Wilderness Study,” the Act states:

  • January 7, 2011

    Guest Post: Wilderness Does Not Equal Effective Wildlife Management

    By The Editors

    Editor's Note: Congressman Dean Heller (R-NV) took issue with Hal Herring's recent Conservationist blog, titled "Are There Any Politicians Who Really Understand Sportsmen's Concerns?" and asked us for the opportunity to address Hal's comments in an OpEd piece. Here's what he has to say.

    By U.S. Congressman Dean Heller

    A recent posting on this blog commented on a Wall Street Journal article concerning the Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar’s secretarial order to designate areas with wilderness characteristics under its jurisdiction as “wild lands.” The author of this post made assumptions about my experience based upon comments in this article that need to be addressed.

    I am a lifelong sportsman, a member of the Congressional Sportsmen’s Caucus, and currently serve as Policy Chair for the Congressional Western Caucus. I grew up recreating on the more than 85% of the land in my home state of Nevada that is controlled by the federal government. In some counties in my Congressional District as little as 2% of the land base is privately owned. Federal land management policies have a tremendous impact on local communities throughout the West and in my Congressional District. I spend a large portion of my time in Congress dedicated to natural resource issues, such as federal land management. For these reasons, I am particularly sensitive to any actions that could restrict access to public lands.

  • January 3, 2011

    Are There Any Politicians Who Really Understand Sportsmen's Concerns?

    By Hal Herring

    First, a bit of a rant, and then I’ll end with a question that I hope others will help me to answer. Late last week, the Wall Street Journal ran a story entitled “Wilderness Policy Sparks Western Ire,” subhead “Obama Directive to Expand Limits on Unspoiled Lands Draws Opposition from Companies, Ranchers and Sportsmen” (Please note that no sportsmen are quoted in the article)

    The WSJ story concerns the new policy that the Obama Department of Interior, headed by former Colorado Senator Ken Salazar, has adopted to evaluate the wilderness qualities of hundreds of thousands of acres of public land managed by the US Bureau of Land Management. The new policy could reverse the extremist (my opinion) “no new wilderness” policy on BLM lands that was imposed in 2003.