Western Stakeholders Call for Support of Interior Secretary Wild Lands Policy

Feb 10, 2011

A diverse group of Westerners issued their continued support of Interior Secretary Ken Salazar’s Wild Lands policy announced in late December. Highlighting the incredible benefit public lands provide to local economies and rural communities, the group also clarified misperceptions about Secretarial Order 3310. The Order reinforces the Bureau of Land Management’s responsibility to consult with local stakeholders and propose to Congress additional protections for existing public lands.

An audio file of today’s press event is available here.

The following statements were part of today’s announcement:

Jennifer Hobson, former Deputy Secretary for Tourism for the state of New Mexico and representative of Ojo Caliente Mineral Springs Resort & Spa near Taos
“Access to wild lands has been a hugely important issue in New Mexico because it is clear that tourism is a viable economic driver, which is why this policy from Secretary Salazar has been so important. Our wild lands are one of our greatest resources and tourism had a six billion impact on the economy in New Mexico.”

David Lien, hunter and Co-Chairman of Colorado Backcountry Hunters and Anglers
“Lands in the [wild lands] order are prized by hunters and anglers.  Without that habitat, hunters and anglers are out of business. Hunting and fishing creates jobs, more in the long run than oil and gas combined because these jobs don’t go away when a gas field is exhausted.  They do, however, go away when a gas field moves in.”

Frank Hugelmeyer, President of the Outdoor Industry Association
“[The outdoor industry] generates 289 billion in annual retail sales and services, supports 6.5 million American jobs and contributes 730 billion overall to the US economy.  Protecting wild lands is good business and great for the quality of life, which attracts even more high-paying jobs.”

Rev. Warren Murphy, Wyoming Association of Churches
“We support the BLM wild lands policy because it deals with what we consider to be very important spiritual and cultural values contained in most of this land.  The faith community goal is to honor the creator by protecting the creation.”

Nada Culver, Director of the BLM Action Center, The Wilderness Society
“Only Congress can designate Wilderness Areas. This Wild Lands policy is needed and important to give the BLM and the public a way to acknowledge the values of our wildest public lands. The oil and gas industry has claimed that they need more land, but that simply is not so – the oil and gas industry has 41 million acres of our public land under lease, and they haven’t even begun to drill on 29 million of those acres. There is plenty of room to protect wild lands.”

Background material:     
The Facts: About the BLM’s New Wild Lands Policy
The Facts: Economic Benefits of the Wild Lands Policy

The Facts: New Data Shows Over 29,000,000 Acres of Idle Federal Oil and Gas Leases
The Facts: Plenty of Room for BLM's New Wild Lands Policy