A sneak attack on wilderness: Legislation that hurts backcountry sportsmen looms in the U.S. Senate

So many of our memories are made when we spend time with our favorite people in our favorite wild places.

Now, a bill that passed the U.S. House of Representatives threatens those memories. H.R. 4089 is a sneak attack on wilderness disguised as a pro-hunting bill. It would fundamentally undermine existing protections for some of our nation’s backcountry destinations, including wilderness areas:

  • Allowing motorized vehicles and other development in congressionally-protected wilderness areas
  • Eviscerating the president’s authority to designate national monuments under the Antiquities Act
  • Allowing development in hiking, hunting and fishing areas without public review or comment

A master of deception

Like all things in disguise, H.R. 4089 is not what it seems. The bill’s supporters claim that it supports and would even help hunting and fishing in wilderness — something that The Wilderness Society strongly supports. After all, sportsmen are some of America’s greatest conservationists, harking back to the “Wilderness Warrior,” President Theodore Roosevelt.
In reality, the bill would not help hunters or anglers. Instead, it would destroy the wilderness that defines the backcountry hunting and fishing experience. H.R. 4089 is Congress at its worst: trying to fix a problem that simply does not exist.

Unfortunately, H.R. 4089 deceived enough members of Congress to pass the U.S. House of Representatives.  Now it is in the Senate, and we need to reveal its true identity: a gift to those who want to destroy these backcountry traditions that this country was built upon.

Sadly, H.R. 4089 is part of a wave of legislation that seeks to systematically dismantle decades of laws that protect America’s wilderness and public lands. To learn more about these dangerous bills, please see our report, Wilderness Under Siege.  All together, these bills threaten nearly half a billion acres of public land.

Congress should protect our backcountry, not destroy it.