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Protecting Roadless Lands in Arizona

January 07
11:56 2014

wildernessA battle is brewing in remote areas of Arizona to protect roadless lands from the oil, gas and timber industries.

Arizona’s national forests and Bureau of Land Management (BLM) lands cover over 24 millions acres, or about 30%  of the state’s surface area. The National Wildlife’s Public Lands Campaign aims to preserve those lands.

National Wildlife Federation Protection Effort
Ed Perry with the National Wildlife Federation is part of the protection effort.  Perry claims bills keep surfacing in Washington, D.C.,  to sell off millions of acres of national forest and BLM acreage for the land’s  fossil fuel and timber value. He’s convinced that isn’t the best use of the land.

According to Perry, roadless areas represent some of the greatest hunting, fishing and camping areas nationwide, enjoyed by thousands of visitors  every year. He believes those lands need to be preserved, for the tourist dollars they bring in, the jobs they create, and for their environmental value, which he sees as priceless.

In 2010, public lands drew over 58 million visitors and they spent over seven-and-a-half billion dollars,” Perry declares. “And outdoor recreation supports three times as many jobs as does the oil and gas industry out West.”

Campaign to Increase Awareness
Perry says much of the push to develop public land originates in the U.S. House but fails to gain traction in the Senate. He calls it the most important threat to Western lands, and few people know about. That’s why he’s involved with the National Wildlife Federation’s Public Lands Campaign.

The whole purpose is to educate my fellow sportsmen and conservationists that there is a huge threat looming to our public lands out there. Otherwise we’re going to be losing some of the last, best part of our country.”

The National Wildlife Federation is the United States’ largest private, nonprofit conservation education and advocacy organization, with over four million members and supporters, and 48 state and territorial affiliated organizations.

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