On behalf of over 1000 members and supporters in Nevada, and the over six million members and supporters of the National Wildlife Federation we adamantly oppose efforts to sell or transfer ownership or management of national public lands to state or local governments, or private interests.
Our organizations’ members are hunters, anglers, outdoor enthusiasts, gardeners, educators, and many more. As you know, national public lands are vital to their way of life and to the way of life of people throughout Nevada and across America. We depend on our national forests, parks, wildlife refuges and other federal lands to provide fish and wildlife habitat and access to places to hunt, fish, and enjoy the outdoors.
The iconic landscapes of America’s public lands also sustain our national economy by supporting an outdoor recreation industry that generates $646 billion in economic benefit annually and supports 6.1 million jobs — and attracting tourists from across our nation and around the world. Support of our national public lands is broad, deep and bipartisan. Republican leaders like President Teddy Roosevelt pioneered the creation of national parks, refuges and forests lands for public use, public access, and public ownership.
Democratic leaders like President Franklin D. Roosevelt expanded the national estate on behalf of the public. Republic and Democratic leaders since then have followed in their footsteps. Some of our most treasured big game animals depend on the secure habitat and migration corridors that are provided by public land. Many sportfish species depend on cool, clean waters that originate on public lands. Federal public lands also provide free access for Nevadans to hunt and fish every year. These lands sustain our hunting and fishing heritage and fill our freezers. While all of America owns these lands, their wise stewardship is of particularly vital concern to us.
Monumental landscapes that Americans play in, explore, and cherishes –are under attack. A vocal minority of legislators and private interests are pushing to take our public lands from us by transferring our national public lands to state and private ownership. This would devastate public access. It would cripple an outdoor recreation industry that relies heavily on public lands, in Nevada, outdoor recreation generates $14.9 billion in spending and supports 147,600 jobs. Parceling out these national treasures would undercut the very meaning of public lands. We must protect our public lands. National Wildlife Federation and its 50 state and territorial affiliates, are diverse organizations representing Americans of many backgrounds and interests. We declare our support for keeping public lands in public hands, and states our opposition to any large-scale efforts to sell or transfer ownership or management of national public lands to state or local governments, or private interests. The economic consequences of the loss of our public lands are enormous; the impacts on this fundamental part of our American identity and landscape are incalculable.
President, Nevada Wildlife Federation