August 07, 2011

Scott Tipton—Not a Teddy Roosevelt Republican

Much to my disappointment, my Congressman, Scott Tipton, has co-sponsored "Wilderness and Roadless Area Release Act," which is basically a way to destroy the roadless designations on public lands that the majority of Coloradans have been supporting since the Clinton Administration.

David Lien of Backcountry Hunters and Anglers lays out the issues in this letter to the Glenwood Springs newspaper, invoking the best Republican president ever*, Theodore Roosevelt:
Roosevelt would be turning over in his grave today at the prospect of HR 1581, which if implemented would open some 60 million acres of these backcountry lands to road construction, motorized recreation, mining, and oil and gas extraction.

Here in Colorado, 12 of the 15 most hunted game management units (the most productive ones) have over 100,000 acres of roadless backcountry. More than 70 percent of Colorado River cutthroat trout habitat is in roadless areas.

Build roads in these areas, and the elk migrations are hindered, the mule deer populations suffer, and the trout spawning habitat is negatively impacted. That means fewer hunting and fishing opportunities.

We understand the need for mining, oil development and other resource extraction activities on some federal lands, and even recognize the attraction (to some) of motorized recreation far from the glare of civilization. But when our forefathers landed on our shores in the 17th Century, 100 percent of the land was wilderness. Today, that figure has dwindled to less than 3 percent in the lower 48 states, and HR 1581 threatens what little remains.

When Teddy Roosevelt became president, one of his first acts was to begin planning a national conservation policy. Roosevelt implanted the idea of conservation into our culture and enriched our future prospects with 230 million acres of designated public forests, wildlife refuges, parks, national monuments, and game ranges.
* Some might say that honor should go to Abe Lincoln, but the Republic Party was still newly hatched in 1860 and had not yet coalesced across a broad range of issues other than abolishing slavery and preserving the Union. By Roosevelt's time it had.


Heather Houlahan said...

Is *anyone* a Roosevelt Republican anymore?

I will never cease to wonder at the disconnect among most of the hook 'n' bullet crowd between what they claim to love, and what they vote for and support, politically.

As if one could hunt in a stripmall parking lot.

There are exceptions, but they are notable by their rarity.

Rob Sisson said...

Contact Republicans for Environmental Protection on Monday.

Chas S. Clifton said...

Heather: That is why I like Backcountry Hunters & Anglers. It's decentralized, very much about local knowledge and "boots on the ground" activism. I like to say that we are "too Green for the Blaze Orange crowd and too Blaze Orange for the Green crowd." But maybe in this day of "locavore hunters" that will change a little.

Rob: See above. BHA is nonpartisan.

Heather Houlahan said...

Many years ago, when I edited our State Sierra Club chapter's newsletter (effectively pre-internet, so it was the only tool to communicate with 18,000 members) I led the charge to build bridges between us crunchies and the thinking segment of the hook 'n' bullet world.

I do think it worked, and am proud to have been in the vanguard.

But there will always be a vocal segment of the latter who are more interested in ranting about how that African commyooniss who stole the election is coming for their guns, and the Game Commission is seeding PA with mountain lions the same as they did with coyotes then they are in getting together to protect public lands, or giving up some instant gratification in order to prevent the deer herd from destroying the forests.

Chas S. Clifton said...

Transplanting mountain lions to Pennsylvania? I would be happy to help out as soon as we get the black bears back into the Black Hills