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

The Value of Public Land

Two articles, each very different in their approach, recently tackled the subject of public lands. They caught my attention not only for the subject matter, but because of the important messages they contained.

Public lands are good for the soul

Hal Herring wrote a terrific piece in Field & Stream, How Public Land Has Shaped and Defined My Entire Life. He paints a written landscape of his lifelong experience hunting, fishing and wandering this nation’s unique and varied public lands. Well worth the read and perhaps, if the opportunity presents itself, you can assist Herring in his challenge to those folks running for public office to join us on and fighting for our public lands.

“Join us, and see what free people do on the lands that visionaries set aside for us all, long ago, so that we would never lose the basic frontiersman’s edge that made this country different from all the others, so that our children would grow up strong under heaven’s blue eye and learn the ways of wildlife and wild places, and learn what it is that we fight for, when we have to fight.

Join us. We’ll show you something that you’ll want to fight for, too.”

Who cares about public lands

The second article offers a look at the strengths and weaknesses of public land supporters, defenders and exploiters. Check out Public Lands Cage Fight on Truchacabra.

This is a no-holds-barred critique that will boil the blood of some folks. Of course there will be a bunch of bitching and moaning and trying to defend one group or another. That will just prove the author’s point. The critiques are spot on and those of us who fit in to the categories are well-advised to learn from these observations.

When all is said and done, if you enjoy the outdoors then you damn well need to set a good example or as the author notes in response to a comment, “It seems ideology is more important than anything these days. Anything can spin off the right track, and there are vultures waiting whenever it happens.”

So next time you feel like the other guy doesn’t care as much as you do, think again, then share the bounty, trail or river. If not, the vultures will waste no time in taking it away from us.

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