The Biden administration’s recent policies have been criticized for their potential to hinder conservation and recreational activities on public lands.
These policies, stemming from the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, could render lands inaccessible for hunting, fishing and even hiking.
“It really seems to show to me the lack of consideration and thought that is being put in from bureaucrats from D.C. making decisions about how public lands, in the West predominantly, are being managed,” Sarah Montalbano, an education policy analyst at the Alaska Policy Forum remarked to Fox News. Montalbano, also affiliated with the Independent Women’s Forum, conveyed that the Biden administration’s rules appear to be unfavorable towards both recreation and energy development.
Gabriella Hoffman, a senior fellow at the Independent Women’s Forum’s Center for Energy and Conservation, expressed concerns over the U.S. government’s attempt to redefine conservation through its proposed Public Lands Rule.
“When you see that they’re trying to remake conservation into something else, is it really conservation or is it an alternative kind of view, environmentalism, which is preservationist, which is more restricted [and] really doesn’t welcome people on the landscape and can be exploited,” Hoffman said. She emphasized that public lands should be accessible to all, and the new rule seems to deviate from the essence of true conservation.
Hoffman further highlighted the power of preservation and environmental groups, suggesting they could exploit the conservation lease component due to their significant financial resources. She expressed disappointment in the direction the Interior Department has taken, leading to potential distrust between Western states and the federal government.
Kerrie Cox Romero, the Executive Director of the New Mexico Council of Outfitters and Guides, emphasized the importance of conservation in the hunting and fishing industry. She detailed the history of outfitting and its significance in American discovery. Romero warned that the BLM’s new rule might endanger the outfitting industry in the West, undermining their conservation efforts. She explained that the BLM’s Conservation and Landscape Health rule, once implemented, would severely restrict the outfitting industry, essentially blocking public access.
Romero and Hoffman both expressed concerns that the rule might be used by environmentalist organizations to prevent access under the pretense of restoration or conservation.
Another contentious move by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service involves phasing out lead bullets on major public hunting grounds by September 2026. Luke Hilgemann, the executive director of the International Order of T. Roosevelt, stated that this would make vast areas of public hunting land less accessible.
“All this is going to do is just set up another barrier to the outdoors for America’s hunters, who are depending more on that wild game to feed their families and to bring back to their neighborhoods and friends,” Hilgemann said. He criticized the policy as being driven by anti-hunting rhetoric without scientific backing.
Hilgemann further argued that the ruling represents an encroachment on foundational freedoms in America. He believes the Biden administration aims to end hunting practices in America, making people more reliant on the government for food.
Recent policies and regulations proposed by the Biden administration have raised significant concerns among stakeholders in the hunting, fishing and conservation sectors. The potential implications of these rules could reshape the landscape of public land use and conservation in the United States.
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