The good news is that HB621 is no more. The bad news is that while the walls of our fort are still standing, there are many more cannonballs headed our way. Head over to the Meateater blog for a better written piece on the topic than I could provide.
Also, remember that public lands are your birthright as a American. This isn’t just about hunters and anglers; this includes hikers and bikers, birdwatchers and Boy Scout troops. Please reach across the aisle on this one, and make friends with the folks you meet in the woods. I know the mountain bikers bitch about the hunters, the fisherman bitch about the mountain bikers, and the hunters bitch about damn near everyone else, but we must fight the good fight together this time.
We here at SCOF are not a proud people. We may not shower regularly, or use deodorant, or even know what a lufa is, but every three months we put out an issue despite ourselves. So here it is, the SCOF 2017 Winter “Diplomatic Immunity” Issue. Now leave us alone for three months, we stink. Oh yeah…head on over to our Facebook page to Like, Comment, and Share this post for a chance to win a Simms Dry Creek 2 Sling Pack. We’ll pick the winner next Monday February 2oth. But after you do that please explain the concept of a lufa to us. We’re dying to know.
The SCOF Fly Tying Potluck returns on February 14th at both our HQ in Asheville,NC and our Southern Outpost in Melbourne, FL. Head over to the SCOF Community Calendar to find all the info, and post an event while you’re there.
A couple of weeks ago, I wrote about the virtues of public land and voiced my opposition to their transfer. As I said before, while I do my best to keep this blog out of the political trenches, sometimes issues come along that absolutely require a response. This is that sort of topic.
On Tuesday, Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-UT) introduced two bills that threaten to undue generations of work that began with TR himself. The first of these bills, HR 621, calls for the sale of 3.3 million acres of federal public lands. Sure, this in only 1% of BLM land, but this is the first crack in the dam.
The second and equally ridiculous bill, HR 622, intends to strip the law enforcement powers of the Forest Service and the BLM. Block grants would be provided to states so that the states could then afford to enforce federal law on federal land.
We saw this coming.
In the runup to the presidential election, Trump explicitly stated that he had no interest in selling off public lands. Should we take him at his word and expect a veto should this legislation reach his desk? Let me know how that works out for you . . .
So, we have options at this point. One option is to put our fingers in our ears, hum our favorite Woodie Guthie tune, and hope for the best as they prove old Woody wrong. The second option, of course, is to do something; that’s the path I’m choosing. I’ve sent emails to and called my representatives, I’ve reaffirmed my support for organizations like BHA, and I am pleading with you to do the same.
This matters to me, it matters to you, and it matters to future generations that are going to be left without public lands on which to hunt and fish unless we do something to preserve them. Do something.
Over the weekend, I had the opportunity to view the new film Convergence from Conservation Hawks. While you’ll have to wait until F3T comes to your town to see it, the trailer is below.
Photo by Dave Karczynski
It’s been said before, but I honesty think the journey is as important as the destination itself. In a recent photo post on Midcurrent, Dave Karczynski captures the journey in a powerful way. I think you’ll like it.
The quality of fly fishing films has exploded over the last few years, and the incorporation of drones has made these films almost impossibly beautiful. I tend to favor the expeditionary-type films that portray locales that I’ll likely never fish, but it is always cool to see a place I know depicted in a way I’ve never seen it. Below, you’ll find the teaser video for the 2017 Fly Fishing Film Tour, and the International Fly Fishing Film Tour showcases trailers for each film. Find a venue near you, and put it on the calendar. You won’t be disappointed.
Head over to the Orvis Fly Fishing Blog for some expert opinions on finding trout in the winter. You’ll even find some words of wisdom from Brown Hobson, WNC guide and friend of SCOF.
I’m going to flirt with a self-imposed line on this one. You don’t visit this site for political opinions, so I generally make a conscious effort to avoid them at all costs – sometimes, I think, to the detriment of a piece. Occasionally, however, issues require discussions of a political nature if understanding is what we’re after.
Lately, the issue of public land transfer has come back to the forefront. To set the stage, it’s important to understand that public lands in the US are held in trust by the federal government for the public. They’re held in trust for you, for me, and for future generations. While a large majority of public land is in the West, those of us in the East are not immune to these concerns. Particularly in the southern Appalachians, large swaths of land are managed by the Forest Service.
Are they managed as efficiently and effectively as they could be? Of course not. But is transferring them to the states a better solution? What about privatization? I don’t think so.
For more information on the topic, I’m going to point you toward a few organizations that have a much more educated perspective on the topic than me. The first two are opposed to land transfer, and the third one is in favor. All I’m asking is that you take a few minutes to learn more about the issue. I think you’re going to be hearing more about it in the news over the next couple of years.
Backcountry Hunters and Anglers
American Lands Council
Public land transfer is not about giving this land back to the people; it already belongs to us.
As we head into a new year, I thought we’d take a quick look back at the most viewed posts of 2016. Thank you to everyone who reads this blog; your participation and interest is what keeps it fun for us. We’ve been called irreverent, but I think there’s more to it than that. I hope that while we try to offer up a different perspective, we also introduce you to people you should know and issues you should care about. Most importantly, though, I just hope we never take it too seriously.
Your top posts of 2016 . . .
An Open Letter to Trout Unlimited
. . . . . Follow Up: And Open Letter to TU
How to Behave In A Fly Shop
The Rod Warranty Circus
Doing It The Right Way: Soul River