Middle River Dispatches is a gumbo of posts about fly-fishing, conservation, politics and days afield.

Roadless wolves invoke “access” shibboleth

I don’t know Ben Long but I like the way he thinks. Over the years I have heard the “access” dodge employed by politicians to justify tearing hell out of the public lands. They like to don the camo cloak and rant and foam about the lack of access. Long writes:

“America’s national forests belong to everyone, and all Americans deserve and rightfully demand access to this national birthright. Such access is like oxygen for hunters and anglers, but beware: Industry barracudas and their pals in Congress are trying to hoodwink sportsmen into supporting bad legislation by promising more lenient access.”

Dig a little deeper and you find the access issue is a little more complicated then the politicians would have you believe. Especially with legislation like the Wilderness and Roadless Release Act. Legislation that is opposed by TRCP, TU, AFFTA, Backcountry Hunters and Anglers, and RMEF (they originally supported it, but to their credit changed their stance when their members raised hell).


Read Long’s piece (click here) on why this legislation is not the “access” panacea the proponents claim.


  1. Mitch Butler says:

    My concern with Mr. Long’s article is the uninformed shots he takes at Melissa Simpson. We need to unite sportsmen-conservationists behind shared goals, not divide our ranks. To get there, we need to discuss and debate policy on the merits before taking shots on blogs and in the papers. Had Mr. Long picked up the phone before the keyboard he may have found out that over the past 15 years, Melissa has proven herself to be one of the greatest champions of sportsmen and conservation our community has ever known. Is there a genuine debate to be had over whether or not 1581 will result in positive impacts for hunting and wildlife? Sure, buy me a beer Sadler and we’ll talk about it.
    Mitch Butler
    Beltway Guns and “Sportsmen” Incorporated

  2. Thanks for your comment. I know Melissa has done good things for conservation over the years. She and I may disagree on the priorities and impacts of this legislation and would welcome the discussion. You are also right that the community must hang together if we don”t want to hang separately. The first beer is on me when next we meet my friend!

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