It’s difficult to get too excited about another planning document related to public lands, but the Bureau of Land Management’s latest revisions to its land management plans are pretty exciting — and important. I have been roaming around sagebrush country for most of my life and have noticed something — sagebrush habitat isn’t as healthy as it used to be and as a result, hunting opportunities across the West have been reduced.
That could change, though. The plans represent a lot of hard work by public land managers and locals who live and work in sagebrush country. Those include ranchers, farmers, hunters and energy developers. That’s how planning should be done, at a kitchen table with your neighbors (even if you don’t always like your neighbors).
Sage grouse are declining rapidly in numbers and without bold action across the board from local conservation districts to the White House, the big bird could be listed under the Endangered Species Act. That’s an outcome most Westerners don’t want.
It’s time for everyone to work together for better public land management and better stewardship of our Western wildlife. It’s time to institute these new plans and get to work making better habitat.
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Jim Nunley, Meridian