VERMONT SPORTSMEN: YOUR PUBLIC HUNTING AND SHOOTING LANDS ARE IN JEOPARDY!

Posted on February 5, 2002

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As you know, the State of Vermont purchased the Champion lands, now known as the West Mountain Wildlife Management Area, for the purpose of preserving them for traditional uses, including hunting and trapping. Environmental activists are working hard to keep in place an easement that would allow them to close large areas of this parcel to these uses!

THEY WILL TELL YOU OTHERWISE. DO NOT BELIEVE THEM. IF WE DON`T RESOLVE THIS MATTER NOW, WHAT WILL IT MEAN FOR HUNTERS, SHOOTERS, TRAPPERS, AND FISHERMEN?

IT MEANS the environmental activists could, on a whim, end all of these activities on land that has been cherished by sportsmen for generation upon generation. IT MEANS you could be denied access to more than 20,000 acres paid for by your hard-earned tax dollars. THEY WILL TELL YOU WE SHOULD BE HAPPY BECAUSE THIS LAND WAS A GIFT TO US. WHEN WAS THE LAST TIME YOU PAID $4.5 MILLION FOR A GIFT? If they are successful this time, IT MEANS they could go after other public hunting lands in Vermont AND THEY HAVE ALREADY SAID THEY WOULD.

Two weeks ago, on a vote of 89-49, members of the Vermont House of Representatives passed Joint Resolution 176. The measure, sponsored by Representative Bob Helm, reaffirmed the legislature`s intent in supporting sportsmen`s efforts to keep this area open to hunters, sportsmen and outdoor enthusiasts. Due in large part to your postcards and phone calls, a new easement was drafted by the Agency for Natural Resources. While this new document was clearly a gracious gesture and a step in the right direction, more work still needs to be done.

H 567, sponsored by Dave Brown, Chairman of the House Committee on Fish and Wildlife, seeks to keep open, in perpetuity, all of the Champion lands for all of the "traditional uses" as spelled out by the legislature three years ago. This legislation, which could be considered this week, is the sportsmen`s best opportunity to have this issue resolved once and for all.

Please use the "Write Your Reps" feature to locate your representative and Senator. Please contact him or her to thank them for their vote (if they support the resolution) or thank them for their consideration and ask that they vote "yes" on H 567.

Eighty -nine house members, lead by Speaker Walter Freed, voted for this resolution and came through for sportsmen and women in a big way! That is why it is imperative that we contact them today to acknowledge their efforts and encourage all members of the legislature to keep the Vermont traditions alive!

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