Utah: CSF Hosts Western Policy Forum

By Zach Widner, Northwest States Senior Manager

On September 11, the Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation (CSF) hosted a policy forum and luncheon in Snowbird, Utah, which preceded the Council of State Governments (CSG) West Meeting. Attendees included western state legislators, sportsmen’s representatives, and outdoor industry partners covering sportsmen’s policy issues.

The policy forum featured several western-centric policy issues. Al Eiden, Western Region Director for Pheasants Forever/Quail Forever (PF/QF), presented on PF/QF’s western landscape scale initiatives, as well as Colorado’s unique “Corners for Conservation” program and the Yuma (AZ) Dove Plot Program.

Molly Pitts, Rocky Mountain States Director for Healthy Forests, Healthy Communities, and Jamie Nogle, Acting Southwest Conservation Field Manager and District Biologist for the National Wild Turkey Federation (NWTF), spoke about federal forestry management issues and the benefit of active forest management to wild turkey habitats. Nogle also outlined NWTF’s efforts on hunter recruitment, retention and reactivation programs and initiatives.

Brian Kurzel, Regional Executive Director of the National Wildlife Federation’s Rocky Mountain Center, provided an overview of fish and wildlife management funding streams and associated issues, as well as the Recovering America’s Wildlife Act.

Prior to lunch, Michael Findlay, Government Affairs Representative for Ducks Unlimited (DU), discussed the immense ($144.7 billion) economic impact of waterfowl hunting in the United States, the impact of drought conditions on waterfowl populations, and DU’s work in the western U.S. During lunch, the event’s final speaker, Kevin Hurley, Vice President of Conservation & Operations for the Wild Sheep Foundation (WSF), briefed attendees on a wide range of issues on which WSF is engaged, including working to ensure collaborative approaches in federal land management planning efforts to prevent the spread of pneumonia from domestic sheep herds to wild sheep populations, and to encourage the protection of wild sheep habitat in military facility land planning decisions.

Among the event attendees were CSF’s Western Region Director Andy Treharne, Northwest States Senior Manager Zach Widner, and Pacific Southwest States Coordinator Soren Nelson, as well as legislative sportsmen’s caucus leaders and members from Colorado, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, New Mexico, and Utah.

Sponsors for the event included: Ducks Unlimited, Healthy Forests/Healthy Communities, National Wildlife Federation, Pheasants Forever/Quail Forever, Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, the Utah Chapter of the National Wild Turkey Federation, and the Wild Sheep Foundation.

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A key component of the American System of Conservation Funding, the Pittman- Robertson Act directs excise taxes on firearms, ammo, and archery equipment to wildlife conservation. Since its inception in 1937 the Act has generated more than $12 billion towards conservation. However, there has been a loss of 5 million hunters in the past decade. One proposed solution to help fund conservation is to dedicate lottery proceeds for conservation purposes. Would you support this effort in your state?

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