After Successful Great Outdoors America Week, There is Still Work to be Done

Family Hiking Bear Lake 

Krossbow Flickr

One week removed from a very successful Great Outdoors America Week, which brought together over 200 outdoor enthusiasts from around the country, the need for continued advocacy of our public lands is even more apparent.

My fellow GO America Week participants and I earned the attention of various members of Congress who support protections for our wilderness – read about my experiences on The Wilderness Society’s live blog. However, there remain many who threaten public lands with careless and dangerous legislation.

Several hostile bills have been introduced in the House and Senate recently. Rep. Kevin McCarthy’s (R-CA) Great Outdoors Giveaway, Rep. Bishop’s (R-UT) National Security and Federal Lands Protection Act, and the various bills that target the Antiquities Act and the president’s ability to declare new national monuments pose the greatest threats to our wilderness. It is clear that our public lands and waters are under attack. We as a community of outdoor advocates must persevere through these tough times.

Thankfully, there is help on the horizon. Recently, Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-CA), and Reps. Mike Michaud (D-ME), Mark Udall (D-CO) and Michael Bennet (D-CO) introduced several pieces of legislation that would increase protections for public lands and expand current wilderness areas. We must ensure, as a community, that these bills move forward while also playing defense against hostile legislation.

While there is much work to be done, know that America’s rich natural heritage was well represented in Washington last week. If you missed GO America Week, check out the following videos:

Mr. Smith Wraps up His Visit to Washington
Youth Speak Up for Great Outdoors
Rep. Raúl Grijalva Unites Wild Places, Civil Rights
Oscar Vasquez Butler Represents NM Wilderness

Keep up your efforts for our public lands and let your representatives know that you love America’s wilderness. To paraphrase Rep. Raúl Grijalva, your determination and passion for our lands and waters will determine who wins.