As we approach another 4th of July, the typical patriotic events emerge: from bbq’s and baseball games to fireworks and parades. All honoring our country.
But, perhaps we should look to and embrace a truly unique American value this 4th of July.
Whether you have a fly-rod in hand, hiking boots on, binoculars scanning the horizon, or a shotgun afield, many of us have experienced the enormous wealth that our public lands provide. From large stretches of land that provide clean water sources, to hosting intact fish and wildlife habitat, to special places where we can hunt, fish or simply connect with the outdoors, the value of our public lands is increasingly clear.
Our public lands have always been there for us since the beginning of our country. I know that I have reaped the bounty of many wild brook trout and taken in amazing vistas on our public lands over the years. This value is kept in trust by our state and federal government and is our unique value we have here in America.
A value not just to our outdoor heritage, but to our economy. Take for instance the outdoor recreation industry, including fishing and hunting, contributes nearly $650 billion to the U.S. economy and supports more than 6 million jobs. I have blogged on this before.
So, good timing that a new report by the National Wildlife Federation, explores how the public and business support conserving our open spaces. Furthermore, the report clearly reaffirms that Americans – from all walks of life – value our public lands and understand how much they give back to us.
Yet attacks are mounting on these public lands in the form of state and federal proposals to get rid of them, turn them over to the states or escalate drilling and mining while weakening safeguards. The report looks at the proposals and suggests ways the public can counter them.
Simply put…Our Public Lands should remain in the public hands.
Click here for the wicked helmsman and whiskey conoisseour Lew Carpenter’s take on what our public lands mean to us sportsmen and women.
The majority of public lands in the United States are found out west and held in trust for the American people by federal and state governments. Up here in the Great Lakes region, we enjoy the benefits of plenty of public land. Michigan, for example, has more public land than any other state east of the Mississippi River.
Keeping our public lands…public – isn’t just a western land issue. Its a national issue and it hits home right here in the Great Lakes.
So, as you enjoy hot dogs and a couple cold PBR’s with your friends and family this July 4th, I WANT YOU to think about a truly American value…our public lands.