Earlier this week, your ATA and 44 other members of the Hunt Fish 30×30 Coalition submitted formal comments to the Federal Register regarding the American Conservation and Stewardship Atlas (Atlas), a key component of the Biden Administration’s “America the Beautiful” Initiative, also referred to as “30×30.” The recommendations urge the Administration to identify the lands and waters considered to be “conserved” based on conservation outcomes rather than arbitrary criteria. The groups also highlight the importance of working with entities such as state fish and wildlife management agencies, regional fish and wildlife management authorities, tribes, conservation focused NGOs and private landowners who are most knowledgeable and best equipped to advance pragmatic and successful conservation efforts throughout the U.S.
“There are tremendous variable benefits associated with ‘conservation’ lands across this country,” said Dan Forster, ATA Vice President and Chief Conservation Officer. “ATA’s direct involvement with this initiative, as well as that of the other coalition members, is to ensure that active management and recreational opportunities that include hunting are not only allowed but prioritized in these expansion efforts.
“Conservation lands not only provide the foundation for quality of life attributes for all Americans but also provide wildlife and associated recreational benefits like bowhunting opportunities that are critical for our industry, customers and the recreational economy that fuels much of rural America.
“The bowhunting community is dependent upon having access to wildlife and wild places to hunt. This effort to ensure a robust existence of conservation of lands into the future, provides great opportunity and hope for long term participation and growth of archery hunting provided we engage to ensure that active management and recreation prevail as high priority objectives.”
The ATA and other organizations believe that for America the Beautiful to be successful, the following fundamental elements must be included in any “30×30” policy:
- Clearly defining “conservation” to support the active management and sustainable use of our nation’s public trust fish and wildlife resources.
- Collaborating closely with entities devoted to achieving measurable biodiversity conservation objectives
- Recognizing and including all efforts directly contributing to biodiversity conservation in the forthcoming American Conservation and Stewardship Atlas, including those on lands managed for multiple uses.