Tell Congress, “No Lame Duck Wilderness”
This July the House of Representatives passed the 2021 National Defense Authorization Act. You would think that those who passed the bill would be touting its benefits to our troops, celebrating new programs to keep Americans safe, and maintaining the basic needs of our military during a pandemic.
Instead, several members of the House of Representatives celebrated their success in sneaking over 1 million acres of wilderness designations into the House version of the defense bill. The Protecting America’s Wilderness Act – introduced by Representative Degette from Colorado – is the first bill that was added to the NDAA.
This bill will restrict recreation access to 1.4 million acres of land located primarily in areas traditionally designated as multiple-use in Colorado, California, and Washington. Wilderness is the most restrictive land-use designation and wilderness designations always result in loss of access for numerous public land users.
The bill’s sponsor falsely claims wilderness designation will provide economic benefits to the surrounding areas. By restricting motorized recreation, wilderness designations limit the sizable economic impacts that could come from shared-use management of public lands.