On February 26th the House passed the Sportsmen’s Heritage and Recreation Enhancement Act (SHARE Act) H.R. 2406 by a vote of 242-161. The Wilderness Society has always supported hunting and angling as important uses of our wilderness areas, national forests, BLM lands and national wildlife refuges and our support for those established uses remains. However, this legislation though portrayed as a Sportsmen’s Heritage bill contained a provision that would fundamentally undermine management of the National Wilderness Preservation System by opening America’s wilderness areas to motorized vehicles, road construction, use of motorized equipment, use of mechanized vehicles, landing of aircraft and construction of structures or installations. This provision would negatively impact our nation’s public lands and the millions of Americans who enjoy them. Thus, The Wilderness Society opposed this bill based solely on that provision.
On February 23rd The Wilderness Society signed on to a letter that was circulated among a variety of conservation groups outlining concerns and opposition to the legislation. That letter outlined several issues with the SHARE Act, including many that The Wilderness Society does not have a position on. Signing on to that letter was an error, and we apologize for any confusion it has created about our position on the provisions beyond the one that would open our nation’s wilderness areas to motorized use and development.
The Wilderness Society has a long history of working with people representing many interests to find solutions to issues facing our public lands and we remain committed to doing so in the future. Our public lands are facing unprecedented challenges and efforts to privatize and sell them to the highest bidder and it is critical for all who care about them to work together to ensure our outdoor heritage is not lost.
Jeremy Garncarz, Senior Director
The Wilderness Society