Sportsmen Conserving Wildlife Habitat

May 12, 2014

A sportsmen’s coalition of eight groups and organizations and 16 Western Slope businesses are asking the BLM to conserve key undeveloped backcountry lands in western Colorado. Conserving these lands will help maintain hunting traditions and our Western way of life in this area of western Colorado. As part of the effort to protect these areas, EcoFlight provided overflights for members of the coalition along with the press.

This coalition is asking the BLM to conserve important backcountry lands to maintain outdoor traditions and public lands based economy. The following distinct backcountry areas have been identified by sportsmen and wildlife professionals as the most important areas for big game: Lumsden Canyon, Tenderfoot, Blue Mesa, Granite Creek, Little Delores, Sewemup, Unaweep, Tenderfoot, Kings Canyon and Hill Creek. Sportsmen are making four specific recommendations to the BLM to keep these areas intact:

  • Maintain and provide access to these areas while preventing the fragmentation of habitat through the creation of new roads. This will sustain public access while maintaining highly functioning, backcountry habitat.
  • Recognize that the most important value on these lands is big game habitat and dispersed recreation such as hunting.
  • Conserve high-quality fish and wildlife habitat by instituting no-surface-occupancy stipulations for energy development. This would allow energy development activities to occur in ways that conserve intact habitat from fragmentation (for example, requiring horizontal drilling in backcountry areas).
  • Prioritize management activities that conserve, restore, maintain and enhance fish and wildlife habitat.


They are asking that the final plan include key safeguards for these lands that keep the surface values intact for the long-term benefit of big game and the big game hunters that pursue them. These decisions, made in the current stage of the planning process, are crucial and will dictate the state of these public lands for present and future generations of sportsmen.