Wilderness and Roadless Release Act (H.R. 1581) Widely Supported By Hunting, Outdoor Groups

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Montana’s Congressman, Denny Rehberg,  has recieved widespread support and praise for his sponsorship of H.R. 1581, the Wilderness and Roadless Release Act.  This legislation simply releases 43 million acres of federal land currently locked up in so-called Wilderness Study Areas and Inventoried Roadless Areas. These were possible wilderness areas, but for a variety of reasons, the Bureau of Land Management or Forest Service, respectively, determined they are not suitable for wilderness.  But they’re still treated like wilderness.  H.R. 1581 returns these lands, under local management, to the public for use and enjoyment.

The National Rifle Association issued a press release in support of H.R. 1581.  You can read it hereJim Baker, Director of Federal Affairs, NRA-ILA said specifically thanked Rehberg for his support of the bill:

“The use of wilderness designation to close off some sensitive lands to almost all human activity is appropriate at times. However, the designation has been abused and overused by extremists who want to deny public access to millions and millions of acres of public lands.  H.R. 1581, the Wilderness Area and Roadless Area Release Act, will eliminate the restrictions on lands not designated suitable for wilderness and allow these lands to be returned to uses as directed in land management plans that are developed and guided by the interests and needs of the local communities.  We thank Rep. Denny Rehberg and the other 39 members of Congress who have co-sponsored this bill for their support.”

Gun Owners of America Vice Chairman Tim Macy sharply criticized the dishonest Montana Wildlife Federation advertisment in a press release that you can read here:

“The Montana Wildlife Federation isn’t being honest with folks and we refuse let their lies stand unchallenged.  Montanans can be proud of Congressman Denny Rehberg, who stands up for their hunting rights and the Second Amendment in the face of powerful special interest groups in Washington, D.C.  Over the past few years, radical environmentalists have started pretending to be ‘hunters and anglers,’ re-branding their anti-jobs agenda to seem like it’s in the best interest of the outdoor sporting community.  That’s simply not true. Sportsmen, hunters and anglers know that to enjoy hunting and fishing, you’ve got to have access to public lands, and that’s something these groups are fighting to destroy. H.R. 1581 is a great bill that any real hunter would be happy to support.”

Keith Kubista, President of Montana Sportsmen for Fish and Wildlife thanked Rehberg and pointed out the hypocrisy of the Montana Wildlife Federation ad:

“What could be more Montana than waking up early to load up a pickup truck with your kids to go hunting on a snowy morning?  The Montana Wildlife Federation did a good job of visually tapping into the outdoors way of life in their new ad attacking Denny.  But their message couldn’t be further off base.  The whole point of the ad is to visit a website called Roadless Hunters.  No wonder folks are confused.  Two-thirds of the ad takes place in a truck – driving down a road.  A road the Montana Wildlife Federation wants to close down.  Denny Rehberg understands that roads are important for Montana’s families to access our public lands for hunting and fishing.  That’s why we’re glad he’s sponsored H.R. 1581 to open millions of acres to improved public access.  Despite what this dishonest ad says, Denny is doing the right thing, and we thank him for it.”

George Cobb of Big Timber is regional Safari Club International representative for the Montana chapters and submitted an editorial to the Billings Gazette in support of H.R. 1581.  You can read it here.  Here’s an excerpt in which Rehberg is thanked.

“Our Montana chapters of Safari Club International were excited to learn of the introduction of HR 1581 which would solve this decade old problem, allow forest managers to improve habitat management opportunities and increase hunter access to the public lands here in Montana. The legislation will allow these 43 million acres of public lands to be managed according to local land management plans instead of having management decisions dictated from Washington, D.C. We firmly believe the decisions of local foresters should be respected because of their knowledge of on the ground conditions and connections to local users and stakeholders. Our chapters are extremely appreciative of Rep. Denny Rehberg’s co-sponsorship of HR 1581, and we would like to encourage other sportsmen around the state to be supportive of this legislation as well.”

Robbie Holman with the The Montana Snowmobile Association released the following statement, thanking Rehberg:

“I would like to thank Congressman Denny Rehberg for his support of the Wilderness and Roadless Area Release Act (H.R. 1581).  This legislation releases millions of acres of land currently being held as potential wilderness.  The Forest Service has already declared most of these areas unsuitable for wilderness.

“Over the years MSA has spent thousands of dollars defending our rights to snowmobile in these areas.  There will always be people who want to lock us out of the public lands.  Removal of WSA’s and other special use areas will reduce the number of legal tools these people use to reduce our access to Public lands.  Thanks again Denny.”

Citizens for Balanced Use Chairman Kerry White thanked Rehberg in a press release (read it here):

“It is wrong for the government to take away public access to our land by designating the land a study area when the very entities that make such designations deem those lands as not suitable for wilderness study by their own standards. Balanced Use stands with Denny Rehberg in supporting this legislation, and in returning these lands to the people.”

American Motorcyclist Association Vice President for Government Relations and former U.S. Senator and U.S. Representative from Colorado, Wayne Allard thanked Rehberg for his support.  You can read the full release here.

“In working with U.S. Rep. Denny Rehberg on various issues, we know that he truly has his constituents’ interests at heart rather than the interests of those in the D.C. Beltway.  We thank him wholeheartedly for his support of H.R. 1581, which could lead to more jobs and recreational opportunities for all Montanans.”

Steve Jennings the President of the Beaverhead Outdoors Association thanked Rehberg:

“Montana’s public land belongs to the public, not to a few special interest groups who want to lock the rest of us out.  This land is not going to be wilderness.  Everyone agrees that’s the case.  So why are we still treating it like Wilderness, regularly denying access to snow mobiles, hunters and anglers.  Denny’s a fifth generation rancher – he gets it.  Beaverhead Outdoors wants to thank him for his unwavering support of our way of life.  There are some pretty powerful people in this state who don’t want us to have access to around 6 million acres of Montana land that belongs to us.  Fortunately, we’ve got Denny fighting for us in Washington.”

Stan Spencer the Public Lands Director for the Missoula Snowgoers Snowmobile Association thanked Rehberg:

“Congressman Denny Rehberg is one politician that puts the interests of  Montanans and America ahead of his personal political standing. He has co-sponsored bill H.R. 1581. This bill will release lands designated as wilderness study areas and inventoried roadless areas that are not suitable for wilderness designation. These areas are currently being managed as de facto wilderness yet have not been designated wilderness by Congress. It takes courage to sponsor a bill like this in an election year, but it is the right thing to do. There is a social and economic impact attached  to eliminating multiple use in these de facto wilderness areas that impacts all of us either directly or indirectly.  Wilderness advocates such as the Sierra Club are opposed to H.R. 1581 because it re-opens public land to be shared by multiple users instead of locking it up for a select ‘me only’ user group.”


Gun Owners of America Denounces False Ad, Thanks Denny Rehberg for His Support of H.R. 1581

(Springfield, VA) — Gun Owners of America today denounced a false and intentionally misleading television advertisement by the Montana Wildlife Federation, and re-stated their strong endorsement of Montana Congressman Denny Rehberg’s candidacy for the U.S. Senate.

Contrary to what is implied by the ad, the Wilderness and Roadless Area Release Act, H.R. 1581, is supported by common sense hunters and anglers.

Radical anti-access groups like the ones opposing H.R. 1581 are doing everything they can to shut Americans out of public lands for recreational use, including shooting, hunting and fishing.

“The Montana Wildlife Federation isn’t being honest with folks and we refuse let their lies stand unchallenged,” said GOA Vice Chairman Tim Macy.

“Montanans can be proud of Congressman Denny Rehberg, who stands up for their hunting rights and the Second Amendment in the face of powerful special interest groups in Washington, D.C.

“Over the past few years, radical environmentalists have started pretending to be ‘hunters and anglers,’ re-branding their anti-jobs agenda to seem like it’s in the best interest of the outdoor sporting community.

“That’s simply not true. Sportsmen, hunters and anglers know that to enjoy hunting and fishing, you’ve got to have access to public lands, and that’s something these groups are fighting to destroy. H.R. 1581 is a great bill that any real hunter would be happy to support,” said Mr. Macy.

Representative Rehberg is the only member of the Montana Congressional delegation with an A+ rating from Gun Owners of America.

CITIZENS FOR BALANCED USE COMMENDS CONGRESSMAN REHBERG FOR HIS CONTINUED SUPPORT OF PUBLIC LAND ACCESS

Citizens for Balanced Use announces full backing of Congressman Rehberg’s support for the “Wilderness and Roadless Area Release Act” (H.R. 1581), denouncing Senator Jon Tester’s negative campaign against the Congressman’s effort to protect Montanans’ public land access rights.

GALLATIN GATEWAY, Mont., — Congressman Denny Rehberg is under siege from Senator Jon Tester’s negative campaign against Montanans’ access to public lands. Rep. Rehberg recently announced his support for H.R. 1581, legislation dedicated to the release of wilderness study areas administered by the Bureau of Land Management that are not suitable for wilderness designation. Citizens for Balanced Use (CBU) advocates for the designation of public lands to be deemed “multiple use management areas,” and sees this legislation as in alignment with the mission of the organization.

“It is wrong for the government to take away public access to our land by designating the land a study area when the very entities that make such designations deem those lands as not suitable for wilderness study by their own standards,” said Kerry White, Chairman of CBU. “Balanced Use stands with Denny Rehberg in supporting this legislation, and in returning these lands to the people.”

CBU’s endorsement of Rep. Rehberg’s efforts comes at a time when Gallatin National Forest recreators have found themselves strangled by mis-managed wilderness study areas. Snowmobiling in that region has been limited to only 200 ride-able acres out of a total 155,000 acres because of the Forest Service’s failure to introduce a suitable management plan for the season. Snowmobiling accounts for nearly 20 million dollars in revenue each season in the communities surrounding the Gallatin National Forest. Nearly 60 percent of Montanans oppose wilderness area designations.

Citizens for Balanced Use is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization dedicated to protecting Montana’s public lands from closure and mis-management. CBU is Montana based and operated. Special license plates can be purchased through the Montana Motor Vehicle Division in support of Balanced Use. Donations can be accepted by mail or online at http://www.BalancedUse.org.

American Motorcyclist Association wants new uses considered for 43 million acres

PICKERINGTON, Ohio — The American Motorcyclist Association (AMA) is asking motorcyclists to help break a logjam in Congress that has stalled movement on a bill that could eventually lead to more off-highway vehicle (OHV) riding opportunities, and to thank U.S. Rep.
Denny Rehberg (R-At Large, Mont.) for his support of the bill.

The bill — H.R. 1581, the Wilderness and Roadless Area Release Act of
2011 – would allow local land managers to re-evaluate 43 million acres of public land to determine what uses, if any, should be allowed, including responsible OHV recreation.

“In working with U.S. Rep. Denny Rehberg on various issues, we know that he truly has his constituents’ interests at heart rather than the interests of those in the D.C. Beltway,” said Wayne Allard, AMA vice president for government relations and a former U.S. senator and U.S.
representative from Colorado.

“We thank him wholeheartedly for his support of H.R. 1581, which could lead to more jobs and recreational opportunities for all Montanans,”
Allard said.

The bill has stalled in Congress because of pressure from anti-OHV organizations. The AMA wants riders and other outdoor enthusiasts to contact their federal lawmakers to support H.R. 1581. The easiest way to do that is through the AMA website: AmericanMotorcyclist.com > Rights > Issues & Legislation.

H.R. 1581 involves 6.7 million acres managed by the federal Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and on 36.1 million acres of U.S. Forest Service
(USFS) land that was evaluated for strict congressional Wilderness land-use designations.

The federal agencies have determined the 43 million acres aren’t suitable for Wilderness designation, one of the strictest forms of public land management. Yet because of various laws and rules they must continue to strictly manage the land as Wilderness until Congress “releases” it for other possible uses.

The Wilderness and Roadless Area Release Act would release the land for consideration for other uses, including responsible OHV recreation.

Also, the bill would prevent the BLM and the USFS from using other means to manage the land as if it had received a restrictive Wilderness designation that bars OHV use, such as the U.S Interior Department’s controversial Wild Lands policy, which was thought dead but may be re-emerging under a different guise.

The Wild Lands policy essentially allows BLM bureaucrats, rather than Congress, to determine by administrative fiat what BLM lands should be managed as de facto Wilderness.

Allard noted the 43 million acres have been locked up for years, if not decades, even though the land managers themselves say the land doesn’t qualify for the very restrictive Wilderness designation.

“For years, groups hoping to keep responsible OHV riders off public land have been able to get areas earmarked for possible inclusion in the nation’s Wilderness system, which immediately bars OHV riding, bicycling and almost all other activities while the study is under way,” Allard said.

He called H.R. 1581 “possibly the most significant piece of legislation for off-highway riders to be considered by Congress in decades.

“Our public lands are for the enjoyment of all Americans, and not just an elite few who would build a fence around them for those who are physically able to enjoy them,” Allard said.

“Enthusiasts who enjoy our nation’s public lands are not just the nimble and fit,” he said. “They are also families with small children who wish to recreate together, as well as active senior citizens and the handicapped who enjoy the freedom that motorized access to the outdoors provides.

“While the AMA recognizes that no single recreation type is appropriate for every setting, there are certainly many places where responsible OHV use can exist in harmony with other uses while preserving important natural and cultural resources,” he said.

About the American Motorcyclist Association Since 1924, the AMA has protected the future of motorcycling and promoted the motorcycle lifestyle. AMA members come from all walks of life, and they navigate many different routes on their journey to the same destination: freedom on two wheels. As the world’s largest motorcycling rights organization, the AMA advocates for motorcyclists’ interests in the halls of local, state and federal government, the committees of international governing organizations, and the court of public opinion. Through member clubs, promoters and partners, the AMA sanctions more motorsports competition and motorcycle recreational events than any other organization in the world. AMA members receive money-saving discounts from dozens of well-known suppliers of motorcycle services, gear and apparel, bike rental, transport, hotel stays and more. Through the AMA Motorcycle Hall of Fame, the AMA honors the heroes and the heritage of motorcycling for future generations. For more information, please visit AmericanMotorcyclist.com.
 

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