Whenever I have fished in Europe, one of the things that has really struck me is how difficult it is for anglers to gain access to good water without paying for it. I traveled to England for the 2000 World Fly Fishing Championships and was astonished to discover that anglers had to pay fish Chew Valley Lake, even from the bank. A quick check of the Bristol Water Fisheries website shows that the current daily bank fee is US$29.66. Imagine if you had to pay 30 bucks every time you wanted to hit the water. I can waltz down to my local river or lake any time I want, without even bringing my wallet (as long as I have my fishing license). We are incredibly blessed in this country to have access to public lands and waters, no matter where we live.
But as this video from Trout Unlimited shows, that access isn’t guaranteed forever if we don’t continue to fight to protect it:
[I]n state legislatures across the West, lawmakers are proposing bills that would force the federal government to cede our public lands to the states. Moreover, some members of Congress are calling for selling off of public lands and National Forests that for generations have belonged to all Americans.
That’s a terrible idea. States simply don’t have the resources or staff to adequately manage public lands and cover the costs of fighting fires, maintaining roads and facilities, protecting and restoring habitat and many other responsibilities now managed by the U.S. Forest Service and BLM.
Imagine if some of our most treasured public waters became inaccessible altogether, or if they were ruined by industry. If you care about preserving the public lands that make American sportsmen and -women some of the luckiest in the world, visit the TU Public Lands Action page and educate yourself about these threats.