Last week, the Biden Administration released the outline of their “America the Beautiful” initiative, which includes the 30×30 plan – the goal of conserving 30% of our lands and waters by 2030. Safari Club International (SCI) is receptive to the plan’s considerations of hunters and anglers, economic impacts, and local and tribal management, and is hopeful of the inclusion of our concerns. While the plan suggests it is full of positives and, in theory, includes the proposals of outdoorsmen and women, the outline is devoid of details and offers no specifics on the wide range of conservation questions. For starters, the Administration has yet to even define “conservation.”
The most pressing concern is the designation of land and wilderness areas. For example, National Park Service lands have a preservation status whereas Fish and Wildlife Service lands have a conservation mandate. While the terms preservation and conservation may seem interchangeable, they are different administrative classifications which have considerable effects on outdoor use and wildlife management.
Preservation dictates total protection and limited use of nature, whereas conservation entails sustainable use and active management. “Wilderness”, “national monuments”, and “national conservation areas”, just to name a few, all entail different mandates, allowed usage, and implications for wildlife. The report makes no mention of any of the long list of designations, and we are fearful they will use them to covertly move more land into preservation status and reduce all outdoor use, especially hunting and fishing.
Revenues from outdoor recreation fund habitat management and wildlife conservation on federal lands, and hunting by far has the greatest impact. Such a direct role in management by a few hunters enables a variety of other uses, including biking, kayaking, hiking, and many others. While each of these activities entail their own economic impact for local communities and management, sportsmen produce the highest revenue to enable multiple use, creating a more inclusive and equitable approach for public access. Should more federal lands be preserved as opposed to conserved, outdoor activities would be limited, public access would be withdrawn, and ultimately, wildlife would be hurt.
Sustainable use of land and resources can provide access for generations to come. We sincerely hope the Biden Administration follows through on each of their considerations and develops a detailed, inclusive plan that does not confuse the term “conservation” with “preservation”. Sportsmen and women and local communities are the most important factor in wildlife management and conservation, and we urge the Administration to maintain or expand hunting, fishing, and all outdoor recreation.
Stand with SCI to fight for a “no net loss” of hunting and fishing land across the country by texting ACCESS to 73075 today!