From Oregon Wild:
For Wildlife, Don't Give Up Your Voice
Native wildlife is among Oregon’s greatest treasures. Elk, eagles,
songbirds, salmon, and wolves help make our state special. Unfortunately
the agency charged with managing wildlife is struggling. That’s why
it’s so perplexing that the state legislature is considering doubling
down on the problem.
HB3437 is a divisive bill that excludes the vast
majority of Oregonians from participating on the state Fish &
Wildlife Commission. It requires members to have held a hunting,
fishing, or shellfish license for at least 10 consecutive years prior to
their appointment. Those excluded would include biologists, business
owners, wildlife-watchers, and even hunters and anglers currently
serving on the commission.
Hunters and anglers have a right to a seat at the
table. But no single user group has a right to all the seats at the
table. We all have a stake in seeing native wildlife properly managed.
The Oregon Department of Fish & Wildlife
faces serious challenges. Its financial fortunes are directly tied to
Outdoor recreation is a booming multibillion dollar
economic engine in Oregon. But according to the Outdoor Industry
Association, over 90% of that revenue is generated from non-consumptive
uses. That money – and the voice that goes with it – doesn’t make its
way to the agency. That’s why so many Oregonians are already left out.
With less Oregonians buying hunting and fishing
licenses, the agency is struggling. Rather than expand the base of
support for the often controversial agency, HB3437 would exclude all but
the most diehard hunters and anglers.
Even more troubling, the exclusionary bill is being
championed by a new organization with ties to extractive industries and
an open disdain for our broad conservation values.
Oregon needs to have a serious discussion on how to better manage wildlife for all Oregonians. Tell your state legislator that locking out over 90% of the public is a step in the wrong direction.
PS – Oregonians, you can click here to make sure you’re not locked out of wildlife management decisions. If you live out of state, please pass this message on to your Oregon friends.