03-18-2017, 09:58 AM
Taking a Stand
The Connecticut Fly Fisherman’s Association Policy on Public Lands and Waters of Connecticut And The United States Position S...
Connecticut Fly Fisherman's Assoc· Friday, March 17, 2017
The Connecticut Fly Fisherman’s Association is a Connecticut organization dedicated to the support, enhancement and protection of the recreational opportunities and enjoyment of fishing with the artificial fly. We do this through teaching all aspects of fly fishing and most importantly through our advocacy, demonstration and voice for conservation of our natural resources. Clearly, conservation of fishes and their habitats is fundamental to our opportunities and those of our children to fly fish. Those habitats largely are the connected waters of Connecticut and of the United States; the streams, lakes, rivers and estuaries that must remain clean, healthy and functional. Just as important are the health and well being of the watersheds that recharge, nourish and protect the function of our wetlands. These habitats collectively reside by ownership, law and public policy as public resources and lands. Many are managed and protected by state or federal agencies or environmental law on the public behalf, while others are protected by private interests or environmental organizations in perpetuity as conservation easements.
Regardless of ownership or legal designation, they collectively are much more valuable than simply as wetlands, watersheds and fish habitat. These are the habitats of a vast array of wildlife, plant and insect species, including those that may be threatened or endangered with extinction across our country.
What must not be forgotten is that these very landscapes of minerals, waters and plants are essential to our own quality of life as human habitat. These are the landscapes that grow the plant communities that produce the clean air we breathe and process carbon dioxide into oxygen.
The wetlands that clean and recharge our sources of fresh water are necessary to all living beings. There is no question that these lands must be protected for our recreational interests and our own quality of life as humans. Not the least of importance is the economic value of access to these public lands and waters for study, enjoyment and appreciation. Nationally, these values now exceed three quarters of a trillion dollars, returned into our economy each year. Federal lands alone return $650 billion dollars into the U.S. economy and support an estimated 6 million jobs.
Past United States Presidents have respected public lands and waterways. The National Forest System was created by the Land Revision Act of 1891 which was signed under the presidency of Benjamin Harrision. This Act was a result for harm being done to the watershed of the San Gabriel Mountains by area ranchers and miners. President Theodore Roosevelt has been deemed the country's first environmentalist. He recognized the profound values of public lands when he “applied his presidential prerogatives in setting aside 200 million acres and preserving for public benefit several scientific, historical and scenic sites.” In his 1903 designation of the Pelican Island National Wildlife Refuge on the east coast of Florida and again in 1906, when he signed the National Monuments Act, protecting sites like the Grand Canyon. This was the first of what now comprises millions of acres across our continent that serve the public benefit and preserved countless wildlife sanctuaries, national forests and federal game reserves. It is through their foresight that these open lands were saved and will remain in public trust, preserved for a growing America to enjoy for future generations.
Unfortunately, our public lands and the biological, social and economic values they represent are now threatened with narrow interests by those who seek to transfer budgetary responsibility and/or liquidate these essential public lands! Our preserved public lands are precious to all Americans and any proposed changes to exploit them is unacceptable.
Therefore, it is CFFA Policy to advocate for the essential protection of public lands and waters of Connecticut and the United States for their ecological, recreational, economic function, value and to endorse as public policy the administration of these lands to include applicable law, finance, policy and management responsibility, as necessary to assure enjoyment, health and other public benefits.
It is our position that any proposal to change, transfer or liquidate ownership and or management responsibility of public lands has a significant likelihood to adversely affect the biological health, function and wellbeing of natural systems and the wildlife species they support. It further is our position that any such proposed action should receive full evaluation for public review and comment in the form of an Environmental Impact Statement under provisions of the National Environmental Policy Act. It is through such Policy and position that opportunities to enjoy fly fishing will endure throughout the generations.
Adopted by CFFA Board ( 3/17/2017 )
Modeled in the IFFF Policy Statement
The simpler the outfit, the more skill it takes to manage it, and the more pleasure one gets in his achievements.” --- Horace Kephart