There aren’t a lot of things environmentalists and hunters usually have in common when it comes around to politics. That’s something I’ve been puzzled by since we moved out West to Alberta, which is a pretty conservative part of Canada in general. I’ve never understood why people who make their living off the land whether it’s ranching or hunting wouldn’t want to take care of it and make sure it’s preserved. But sometimes it’s not as much what you’re both for as what you’re both against, right? That’s been the case in the US recently, as I read in this article: https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2017/jan/31/public-lands-sell-congress-bureau-management-chaffetz
Turns out a man in congress (one of their MP’s essentially) proposed a bill that would sell off over 3 million acres of land that’s owned by the American government, at a rate that would basically forfeit any profit, and for no particular reason other than that somebody wants to cut back on the people who keep up the land. It would have been a chunk of land the size of Connecticut which is one of the states in New England, over ten different states. It’s not specifically park land, and it’s not officially used for anything, but it’s land where animals cross on migration routes and where the government makes some money felling timber and leasing oil drilling, and it’s also where Americans can go to hunt and fish as well as camp.
Basically, the proposal got the environmentalists and hunters all riled up about the same thing, so they’ve ended up on the same side in what seems like forever. A lot of hunters come from rural places, like they do here in Canada, which means they’re usually more OK with gas and oil projects, but if there’s one thing they won’t stand for, it’s selling off their hunting stamping grounds. Hey, whatever it takes, right? The bill made environmentalists angry because the land would essentially just be sold to oil and timber companies, who would completely wreck it in a few years, and totally disrupt all the animals that use the land to migrate seasonally.
The lawmakers who proposed the bill have apparently backed off at this point, but it’s nice to see hunting groups finally fired up about conservative efforts to sell of protected land, which is definitely new, and something I’d like to see happen out here in Alberta. People vote year after year for the Conservative MP’s even though they really benefit a lot from the protected land we have out here in the Rockies. It’s very counterintuitive, but I’m taking what’s been happening South of the border as a good sign that things can change if you put enough effort into educating people about what’s at stake for all of us.