By Hal Herring
In my last post for The Conservationist, I wrote about the so-called Wilderness and Roadless Area Release Act, H. R. 1581, a bill written by Representative Kevin McCarthy of California and Senator John Barrasso of Wyoming, which promised to open to motorized use several million acres of America’s remaining roadless public lands.
H.R. 1581 is an extreme piece of legislation, described by Bob Abbey, director of the Bureau of Land Management, as “a top-down, one-size-fits-all approach, that fails to reflect local conditions and community-based interests." In an interview with the New York Times, Abbey compared the bill to “shooting a small rabbit with a large gun, leaving almost no meat on the bone” (read the New York Times story here).
The Safari Club International and the National Rifle Association came out in support of H.R.1581, which was surprising to many sportsmen, since SCI is an organization that celebrates trophy big game hunting, and for most hunters, the only, or at least the best, opportunity they will ever have to pursue a trophy-size elk or deer will be on remote, difficult to access, public lands. The NRA’s support of motorized access to these last remote public lands was baffling as well, since such land management policy debates would seem to have nothing at all to do with our embattled Second Amendment rights.