American Sportsmen: Banking on the Backcountry


America's national forest roadless areas, commonly called “backcountry,” provide exceptional hunting and fishing, top-quality fish and wildlife habitat and increased opportunities to pursue fish and game, thereby benefiting our nation's sportsmen and businesses alike. We can secure America's hunting and fishing legacy by safeguarding the backcountry habitat that sustains both our fish and wildlife resources and our local economies.

Theodore Roosevelt said, "We have fallen heirs to the most glorious heritage a people ever received, and each one must do his part if we wish to show that the nation is worthy of its good fortune.” American sportsmen can do their part by “banking on the backcountry” – and supporting responsible management of our national forest roadless areas and the hunting and fishing opportunities they provide.

Sustain Backcountry Hunting and Fishing: National forest roadless areas must be conserved so that America's hunting and fishing traditions and backcountry-dependent businesses can be assured. Habitat security provided by backcountry areas facilitates longer hunting seasons and greater numbers of mature bucks and bulls. Roadless areas also provide quality spawning habitat for native trout and salmon and continued recreational fishing opportunities. To conserve valuable fish and wildlife habitat and secure hunting and fishing on our public lands, the federal government should maintain the maximum acreages of roadless areas and support the sustainable economy that relies on our backcountry.

Stand up for Backcountry Business: Fishing and hunting annually contribute more than $190 billion to our nation's economy. Conscientious backcountry management can maintain strong economic engines in rural communities and continue to supply stable jobs associated with hunting, fishing and other outdoor recreation. Hunters and anglers are uniquely positioned to appreciate the value and benefit of roadless areas. Businesses that provide services and products to sportsmen – everything from guide and outfitter services to sporting goods stores, motels, grocery stores and gas stations – are the lifeblood of many rural communities. Responsible administration of America's roadless areas can secure a profitable future for backcountry-dependent industries.

Support Backcountry Habitat: Roadless areas provide important habitat security for big-game populations and, consequently, outstanding backcountry hunting opportunities for American sportsmen. The headwater streams and rivers that flow through roadless areas shelter Western trout, salmon and steelhead and attract recreational anglers who travel from across the country to ply these pristine waters. Too much human disturbance and too many roads can reduce big-game hiding cover, often resulting in shorter hunting seasons, and can impair spawning habitat, resulting in less-productive fisheries. Ultimately, roadless areas offer some of the best remaining hunting and fishing available on public lands in the United States.

America's sporting heritage is in our hands. Whether we hunt or fish, utilize guides and outfitters or go it alone, we all have a stake in the future of our outdoor traditions. American sportsmen, businesses and hunting and fishing organizations are “banking on the backcountry.”