Group Decries Occupation of Oregon Wildlife Refuge
A sportsmen's group dedicated to preserving America's public-land habitat and recreational opportunities is calling for calm in the continuing occupation of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in Oregon.
National wildlife refuges like Malheur are a treasure shared by all Americans, Land Tawney, president and chief executive officer of Backcountry Hunters and Anglers, said in a press release. The actions being perpetrated by extremists in Oregon are the misguided actions of a fringe element and should be condemned by sportsmen and all citizens in the strongest terms.
Since Jan. 2, armed anti-government militia members have occupied the refuge headquarters, ostensibly to protest the pending imprisonment of two ranchers who were convicted of unlawfully setting fire to federal land to clear grazing areas without the required permit.
Brian Jennings, Backcountry Hunters and Anglers' Oregon outreach coordinator, urged officials to end the standoff quickly.
As sportsmen and conservationists, we urge the occupiers to end this fool's errand, he said in the release. And we urge the Bureau of Land Management and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to keep their employees safe, be patient and thoroughly enforce the law.
Tawney said in the release that the Malheur refuge is part of a system of millions of acres of public land upon which American families depend for outdoor recreation. The refuge itself is popular for waterfowl and upland-bird hunting.
In 2015, thousands of hunters and anglers gathered at state capitols across the West with a single, unified message: Keep public lands in public hands, he said in the release. This will remain our rallying cry in 2016. BHA remains dedicated to protecting those lands from abuse and keeping them in the hands of their owners, the American people.
Backcountry Hunters and Anglers calls itself the sportsmen's voice for our wild public lands, waters and wildlife. It's dedicated to maintaining America's back-country habitat and sporting traditions.