Mark Twain got it right: they’re not making any more land. That’s why Westerners cherish what we have, especially the public lands that are open to all Americans and provide the food, shelter and migration pathways our wildlife need. Sportsmen and women, wildlife watchers, outdoor recreationists, ranchers — we all know that healthy, open landscapes are important to maintaining the herds of deer, elk and pronghorn and sustaining our working lands. That’s why so many diverse stakeholders came together to come up with plans to save a species whose fate is tied to sagebrush lands — the greater sage-grouse. We realize that as the sage-grouse goes, so goes the sagebrush steppe, along with more than 350 other species from snake flies to mule deer. There is over $1 billion in annual economic benefits from ranching and recreation on public sagebrush lands. The sage-grouse plans haven’t been given a chance to work and now the Interior Department wants to redo them. We need to give the plans a chance for the sake of the bird, the herd, our working landscapes, local economies and our way of life.
Maggie Heumann, Idaho Wildlife Federation, Board member; Artemis, oo-founder, Victor