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AFFTA Joins TU in Opposing Bill that would Trash America’s Backcountry

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AFFTA Joins TU in Opposing Bill that would Trash America’s Backcountry

The American Fly Fishing Trade Association today joined Trout Unlimited and a host of other sporting and conservation organizations in opposing the so-called Wilderness and Roadless Area Release Act, which would remove all protections from the last, best fishing and hunting destinations in the United States.

AFFTA cites loss of habitat and opportunity that would impact the bottom line of the fly fishing industry
The American Fly Fishing Trade Association today joined Trout Unlimited and a host of other sporting and conservation organizations in opposing the so-called Wilderness and Roadless Area Release Act, which would remove all protections from the last, best fishing and hunting destinations in the United States.

“This bill takes direct aim at America’s sporting heritage,” said Jim Klug, co-owner of Yellow Dog Flyfishing Adventures and the chairman of the AFFTA board of directors. “Under the guise of improving access to the backcountry for all Americans—something that we all support—Congress is instead allowing the best remaining wild and native fish habitat to be developed by industry and penetrated by new roads and motorized trails. We already have enough roads and trails, and the government can’t afford to maintain even a small percentage of them today. We don’t need more roads. We need to protect what’s left of our backcountry, protect habitat, and protect our existing access.”

The bill, dubbed the Attack on our Sporting Heritage Act (ASH) by Trout Unlimited, would impact about 43 million acres of roadless backcountry from coast to coast, all on public lands within the U.S Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management systems. Inventoried roadless lands provide the best remaining fish and game habitat in the United States, and they’re vital for the persistence of wild and native trout. In the Rocky Mountain West, roadless lands shelter the bulk of the country’s remaining cutthroat trout and bull trout populations. Additionally, the best remaining spawning and rearing habitat for ocean-going steelhead and salmon is in streams flowing through or from the roadless backcountry.

“We’re grateful that AFFTA understands the intrinsic connection between habitat and opportunity,” said Steve Moyer, TU’s vice president for government affairs. “The fly fishing industry understands the opportunity public lands provide to all anglers, and keeping the backcountry just like it is today ensures the recreational fishing industry a promising future. We hope Congress will get the message and do away with this terrible idea that would tarnish the public lands that belong to every single American by birthright.”

Roadless areas throughout the United States are accessible to all Americans—many are bounded by paved highways, and others, despite the misleading status, are accessible by dirt roads and trails. Hunting and fishing are allowed on roadless lands—in fact, the country’s best hunting harvest rates for trophy deer and elk occur in hunting units that are predominantly roadless.

“Congress needs to understand that the roadless backcountry that exists today is very limited,” Moyer said. “Keeping it like it is gives sportsmen and women the opportunity to share with their children the places that look today much like they did generations ago.

“Rather than try to pass a ‘one-size-fits-all’ bill to determine the future of our roadless backcountry, Congress should instead do what we do all the time, and work with people on the ground who have a vested interest in the future of public lands near the places they call home. Doing otherwise puts our sporting culture at risk, because once the backcountry is gone, it’s gone.”







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Comments (16 posted):

Guest1 on 23/07/2011 05:08:27
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I think this is a case of uneducated panic on the part of TU and whoever they talked into going along with it. It does not touch anything designated as a widerness area. It only effects BLM managed land that does not fit the criteria of being "Wilderness". There have been a number of things recently, one being the "Brown Trout Kill Mob" of TU's that make one wonder what has happened to them. If you remember I called the fisheries office involved in the area of the aforementioned clobber a Brown Trout project of theirs and was told by the fisheries biologist for the area that it was a bad idea and they were not contacted or consulted in any way before TU went all militia on the trout. I just read the bill proposal and it is at this point just a proposal. It's not a "put roads everywhere" bill as stated by TU and AFFTA. I think it another case where like the fisheries biologist I mentioned said, " I think it's a case of trying to look like they're doing something." It says NON WIDERNESS AREAS right in the bill. I'd just like to add there would be a lot less problems if everyone, us and politicians did what I just did and read the dang bills.
Jackster on 25/07/2011 13:38:12
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Trout Unlimited = Cold Water Conservation It seems though some are mostly fly fishing clubs in disguise. I belong and have been a member for over a decade but I mainly keep my membership in hopes the monies are going to cold water conservation. I know that my local chapter, always with their hand out like the National, is about as far from a cold water conservation group as I ever met. A lot of T.U.'s resources right now should be in defending The Clean Water Act: House Panel Fast-Tracks Bill to Divest EPA of Regulatory Power Over Water - NYTimes.com This act went right to the heart of cold water conservation and has had amazing, positive results on our watersheds.
Frank Whiton on 25/07/2011 15:59:07
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Hi Everyone, The concern is for Wilderness and Roadless areas, not just Wilderness areas. We have way too little Wilderness areas and many are surrounded by roadless areas. I don't believe there should be a road right up to the edge of any wilderness area. Many roadless areas act as buffer zones for Wilderness areas and they need protection just as much as Wilderness areas. I am against any attempt to create more roads in our remote areas even if it is not a Wilderness area. Anytime a road is built in a remote area the fishing, hunting and land suffer. Frank
fyshstykr on 25/07/2011 17:29:14
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Another link for anyone who has trouble opening the link above. AFFTA Joins TU in Opposing Bill Removing Wilderness Protections | MidCurrent A summary of the bill. H.R. 1581 - Summary: Wilderness and Roadless Area Release Act of 2011 (GovTrack.us) The long form. Read The Bill: H.R. 1581 - GovTrack.us While TU does do some things that I personally find troubling, their overall goal is for the good of our fisheries and trout. As Jackster, I'll continue to support them. TU is only a part of the Front against this legislation, and AFFTA is a coalition of hundreds if not thousands of fly fishing associated businesses, manufacturers, and Guides. A peek at the BOD.American Fly Fishing Trade Association > Board of Directors + Staff So to say that this is "uneducated panic on the part of TU and whoever they talked into going along with it" is not accurate. I'm quite sure that this Bill has been read, reread, and reread again by many who are far smarter than I am. In my reading and comprehension of it.....it seems like they are doing nothing more than trying to keep the door closed to more Industrial/Commercial access, we all know where that road leads.
Guest1 on 25/07/2011 18:42:17
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I just talked to one of the writters of the bill. Again it does not effect widerness areas. It does open to access for the public some areas (not designated or not fitting the criteria of being wilderness) as a side effect of reducing the wildfire hazzards so many have tragically become aware of. Over protection has had the unintended consequences of at some point creating a wildfire that wrecks the area some you guys seem so bent on never touching and then overrunning that, and destroying homes and businesses. I'll bet we have a bunch of people right here on the forum who have had first hand experience with a wildfire. The bill also said right in it that as a protective measure that the bill cannot be used by the secretary of the interior to release wilderness areas. Or we can just never touch any of it and wait for nature to wipe it clean and take maybe your home with it. As for the uneducated panic, I stand by the statement. The chacterization of the bill by TU and those involved is completely innaccurate. I prefer to think of them as uneducated rather than the obvious alternative.
fyshstykr on 25/07/2011 22:55:02
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I just talked to one of the writters of the bill. Again it does not effect widerness areas. Correct, but it does open the "buffer zone" that Frank mentioned to new roads and trails which will put these roads at the doorstep to designated wilderness area's. And then the next step is full blown motorized access. It does open to access for the public some areas The public already has access to these area's, they just cannot drive into them with a motorized vehicle. Access is not prohibited, you just gotta hoof it.(not designated or not fitting the criteria of being wilderness) as a side effect of reducing the wildfire hazzards so many have tragically become aware of. Over protection has had the unintended consequences of at some point creating a wildfire that wrecks the area some you guys seem so bent on never touching and then overrunning that, and destroying homes and businesses. Boy oh boy that's a red Herring if there ever were one. I'll bet we have a bunch of people right here on the forum who have had first hand experience with a wildfire. The bill also said right in it that as a protective measure that the bill cannot be used by the secretary of the interior to release wilderness areas. Or we can just never touch any of it and wait for nature to wipe it clean and take maybe your home with it. If you build a home far enough from protective service you are taking your chances. And if an unfortunate act of nature happens then you have to deal with it. As for the uneducated panic, I stand by the statement. The chacterization of the bill by TU and those involved is completely innaccurate. I respectfully disagree with you once again. How is the opinion of TU and AFFTA on this subject completely inaccurate? How about we let the members here read it, digest it, and think on it for themselves and then we can have an actual discussion about the proposed legislation? Rather than a mudslinging event. How about it folks, can we have a discussion of the proposed legislation here? I would love to have an informative, thought provoking thread, rather than the "same old/same old" whenever something of this nature comes up. Infact, I'll say that I could be wrong. (I am human after all). So instead of telling me what an Idiot I am if you disagree with me, show me why I'm wrong to offer my support in fighting this legislation.
JoJer on 26/07/2011 00:33:33
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I read the short version. It sounds well intentioned. It would make roadless areas more accessable, for instance, for wildfire control and other management practices. But I also believe that once the roads go in, the character of the area changes, generally not for the good. I think it's a slippery slope. Once it's gone, you can't get it back.
Guest1 on 26/07/2011 02:35:49
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Once a wildfire goes through and spreads to the wilderness areas that pretty much changes the character of the area to doesn't it? I still don't understand why people are acting like this is going into wildlife areas. It says BLM managed land that does not fit the criteria of wilderness areas. It's not like they are talking about putting a highway into the BWCA for God's sake. By the way do you remember when a major chunk of the BWCA burnt to the ground? Or the fires that wiped out so much of the Rockies not that many years back. My brothers house was less than 300 yards from the fire when Travelers insurance called him and said they were dropping him. They didn't get away with it, but nevertheless. Think back. You have huge areas in Montana with Beetle kill. Do you think it's wise to just let it set there till it's hit with lighning and burns down along with the surrounding healthy forest? Along with towns that happen to get in the way? instead of just telling me what an Idiot I am, I missed the part where someone called you an idiot. Where was that at?
fyshstykr on 26/07/2011 02:48:07
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Once a wildfire goes through and spreads to the wilderness areas that pretty much changes the character of the area to doesn't it?Yes it does change it, but over time regeneration takes place. I still don't understand why people are acting like this is going into wildlife areas. Because it is. It says BLM managed land that does not fit the criteria of wilderness areas. It's not like they are talking about putting a highway into the BWCA for God's sake. Are you saying that primitive area's like Frank Church, The Grand Tetons, or The Uintah's are less important than the BWCA?By the way do you remember when a major chunk of the BWCA burnt to the ground? Yes I do. Even spent a lot of time in the Island Park area when Yellowstone was on fire.Or the fires that wiped out so much of the Rockies not that many years back. My brothers house was less than 300 yards from the fire when Travelers insurance called him and said they were dropping him. They didn't get away with it, but nevertheless. Think back. You have huge areas in Montana with Beetle kill. Do you think it's wise to just let it set there till it's hit with lighning and burns down along with the surrounding healthy forest? Isn't it possible to take care of these issues without more roads? Or using existing roads for crews to access if clearing needs to be done? Even with more roads into the "buffer zones", fires in primitive area's are going to run wild so your point holds no water, because we are not talking about those areas.Along with towns that happen to get in the way? I think the whole point of this legislation is to allow more access to commercial logging and deforestation, gas well drilling, and mtn top strip mining rather than the ability to fight forest fires. ---------- Post added at 08:48 PM ---------- Previous post was at 08:44 PM ---------- I missed the part where someone called you an idiot. Where was that at? Never said anyone called me an Idiot, I was referring more to the point of where discussions of this nature end up going, instead of staying on the topic they usually digress to name calling. I'm challenging myself, you and others to have a rational, well thought out discussion. Please answer my question to your statement from above; How is the opinion of TU and AFFTA on this subject completely inaccurate?
Guest1 on 26/07/2011 05:26:18
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I think the whole point of this legislation is to allow more access to commercial logging and deforestation, gas well drilling, and mtn top strip mining rather than the ability to fight forest fires. Where did you get that from? Not one word was ever mentioned anywhere about it. That's a political rather than logical view point. It is based on nothing and is not in any way shape or form mentioned in the legislation. I talked to the original source of the legislation and he comes from a place suffering from a serious political "One to the left syndrome" so I seriously can't imagine where you get that.
fyshstykr on 26/07/2011 05:53:41
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It's my personal opinion that if you open up motorized access to existing restricted (and future) roads if this legislation is passed, then it will not be long before Industry will be moving in. Logic says that if there is money to be made by exploiting a resource, someone will be trying to get to it. Now, I've answered your question. Please answer mine.
Guest1 on 26/07/2011 06:38:56
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They said it will allow roads in widerness areas coast to coast, and yet the legislation said BLM managed land that is not designated as wilderness and does not the meet the criteria for being wilderness. In other words they are mischaracterizing the bill. Not the first time I said it. It is in the text and should not have needed to be pointed out... repeatedly. Now answer me a question. Do you drive a car? Use Gasoline, any products that were mined? Forest products, oil and oil byproducts like plastic? Put cement over ground that was once wilderness? Do you use electric lights? Have a TV or electronics like a cell phone that use rare earth metals? Even if you were right, and you are not, where should we get this stuff. Stuff you use yet seem to be so paranoid about aquiring? And why do you use it when you hate it so badly? Examine your own actions before you accuse those of others without so much as a whiff of evidence.
fyshstykr on 26/07/2011 07:36:34
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They said it will allow roads in widerness areas coast to coast, and yet the legislation said BLM managed land that is not designated as wilderness and does not the meet the criteria for being wilderness. In other words they are mischaracterizing the bill. Not the first time I said it. It is in the text and should not have needed to be pointed out... repeatedly. OK, here is the part of the article where your saying TU and AFFTA are "mischaracterizing" the legislation. Copied and pasted; The bill, dubbed the Attack on our Sporting Heritage Act (ASH) by Trout Unlimited, would impact about 43 million acres of roadless backcountry from coast to coast, all on public lands within the U.S Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management systems. Inventoried roadless lands provide the best remaining fish and game habitat in the United States, and they’re vital for the persistence of wild and native trout. In the Rocky Mountain West, roadless lands shelter the bulk of the country’s remaining cutthroat trout and bull trout populations. Additionally, the best remaining spawning and rearing habitat for ocean-going steelhead and salmon is in streams flowing through or from the roadless backcountry. I will admit the language is confusing. But, what I think they are talking about is the area that Frank made mention of earlier as the "buffer zone" and not the "Protected wilderness areas" themselves. Another reason I think that's the area their speaking of is because the impacted area as stated above is roughly 43 million acres, and Federally protected wilderness areas in the lower 48 states, Alaska, and Puerto Rico are in excess of 109 million acres. It sounds like your confused as to the definitions of "roadless backcountry" and "protected wilderness area".:confused: So, in my opinion TU and AFFTA are not "mischaracterizing" anything.
Guest1 on 26/07/2011 18:56:52
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They use the word Wilderness several times followed by "Back Country" not Roadless. They are implying that it will destroy wilderness from coast to coast. I am confused about nothing. This is a typical ploy used gain support. State things in a way that can mislead people into the belief that things are worse than they really are. As for the fire thing being a red herring...do you remember where I said the fire got to within 300 yards of my brothers house? He was lucky and his home did not burn down. Many of his neighbors were not so lucky. Ask them if it's a red herring. I'll give you another typical example of the misleading tactics used by these kind of writers. The humane Society of the United States has a commercial showing taking abused animals to a shelter. They talk about all the rescues they do and how they get them food and care. How many shelters do they have you ask? ZERO. They dump animals at the real Humane Societies around the country while filming the rescue. The actual Human Society that ends up with the animals is in no way affiliated with them, and in fact is being hurt in fund raising by this essentially a professional fund raising group. What happens to the animals you ask? Most animal shelters can't afford to keep the animals they dump on them and are put to sleep. This is why I say they are mischaracterizing the bill. They intentionally mislead the reader by repeating the word wilderness, and when talking about the roadless area call it back country implying it is wilderness. It is a tactic that seems to work on some. These are not the Droids you seek.
Glen Wright on 26/07/2011 20:41:41
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Interesting, I thought the powers that be said we are not allowed to have any political discussions here on NAFFF. I guess its different if the powers that be initiate it. If you think there is just a hint of sarcasm in the above comment I apparently didn't make it obvious enough. I see the potential for both good and bad in this and I think both Dan and John are correct on both the positives and potential even likely negatives of allowing roads to be built in these "buffer zones." I personally believe that some language must be added to the bill which prevents any roads built on these lands from ever being used to allow access the lands that would be given easier access to from ever being used for any commercial, industrial, or off road recreational vehicle purposes. We absolutely in my opinion must have land that will forever remain wild and free from being exploited for their natural resources in such a way that destroys the land, plants, takes a way its protection, and food for fish and wildlife. However, I do believe that increased access via roads does not necessarily have to lead to the potential destruction of wilderness. It would be possible to add language to the bill that would prevent that from happening. It would on the positive side give access to these areas to disabled persons and those like myself who have respiratory illnesses that to some degree limit my ability to safely access certain areas alone and in some instances even with the help of others. Nevertheless, as I believe John touched on our government cannot afford to maintain the roads we have currently. Worse yet within a short period of time if our national leaders cannot get past their partisanship our national government could go into default on our nations debt. Therefore, in my opinion for any bill to even be considered that will require the spending of additional money at this time and likely for a long time into the future is irresponsibly asinine. For that reason it or any other bill that requires additional funding above what this nation already spends should be shelved until we have solved our current financial crises.
Guest1 on 26/07/2011 21:58:49
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Interesting, I thought the powers that be said we are not allowed to have any political discussions here on NAFFF. I guess its different if the powers that be initiate it. If you think there is just a hint of sarcasm in the above comment I apparently didn't make it obvious enough. I see the potential for both good and bad in this and I think both Dan and John are correct on both the positives and potential even likely negatives of allowing roads to be built in these "buffer zones." I personally believe that some language must be added to the bill which prevents any roads built on these lands from ever being used to allow access the lands that would be given easier access to from ever being used for any commercial, industrial, or off road recreational vehicle purposes. We absolutely in my opinion must have land that will for ever remain wild and free from being exploited for their natural resources in such a way that destroys the land and takes a way its protection or fish and wildlife. However, I do believe that increased access via roads necessarily has to lead to the potential destruction of wilderness. It would be possible to add language to the bill that would prevent that from happening. It would on the positive side give access to these areas to disabled persons and those like myself who have respiratory illnesses that to some degree limit my ability to safely access certain areas alone and in some instances even with the help of others. Nevertheless, as I believe John touched on our government cannot afford to maintain the roads we have currently. Worse yet within a short period of time if our national leaders cannot get past their partisanship our national government could go into default on our nationals debt. Therefore, in my opinion for any bill to even be considered that will require the spending of additional money at this time and likely for a long time into the future is irresponsibly asinine. For that reason it any any other bill that requires additional funding above what this nation is already spending should be shelved until we have solved our current debt crises. I agree with almost everything you said there. First they can't afford to put the roads in in the first place, let alone maintain them so I don't think there ia a major concern for the near future. The debt crisis which is in a reallity a spending crisis is sure to make that time period quite long. As for John's negatives, they are based purely on his opinions. I don't want to use veiled language in a post so I can't say what opinions are like, but everyone has one.
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