Public Lands – Where the Pavement Ends

Where the Pavement Ends and the Dirt Begins is where President Trump Began the Salvation Process

By Don McDowell – Buenos Aires Event PicturesAbout the Arizona Wildlife Refuges

In 2016, I began to have hope that the heritage that so many of us hold near and dear would survive the Obama years and the onslaught from the left. Of course I’m referring to our ability to hunt fish and recreate on our public lands that are under control of the federal government.

The major players are the (D.O.I.) Department of the Interior which controls the (B.L.M.) Bureau of Land Management, (N.P.S.) National Park Service, the (USFWS) U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and then the (USDA) U.S. Department of Agriculture controlling the (USFS) U.S. Forest Service. For the sake of clarity, I will not address herein the partisan State Governors opposed to multiuse of our public lands and that are hell bent to keeping of us off the landscape and encouraging the left wing to sue & settle the so-called environmentalists.

Where the pavement ends and the dirt begins is where President Trump began the salvation process by his appointment of Secretary David L. Bernhardt to head the Department of the Interior. And with the Secretary came and understanding of the care that must be given to save our public lands, monuments, wildlife refuges, the ability to multi use our lands and to maintain and conserve the wildlife and its vast habitat and then finally preserve our ability to hunt and fish. I mention it last because there’s always so much effort that goes into conservation of the lands and creatures before we can enjoy our passion. Albeit watching a bird, taking a hike or exercising the “Art of the Chase” for game and fish.

Without a doubt 2020 will go down as one of the strangest years ever. COVID19 has taken its toll in more ways that being an illness. Besides the risk of illness, those that control our lands enjoyed the mandate of working remotely, which is great however, far too many reaching long terms affect will be felt far into 2021 and perhaps beyond.
While the country is being literally shut down not only by the feds but by State and direction from the White House. The directive came down from the President to DOI to keep our public lands open to for us to “go ye forth and recreate!” Secretary Bernhardt did just that, by waving national park entry fees and encouraging the use of our public lands.

This act was done with the greatest of intent; however, it seems that some manager’s didn’t get the memo and starting shutting down forests, monuments, national parks, etc. Political bias, I’d say so.

Secretary Bernhardt has an extremely qualified staff under his command to execute his plans and those of President Trump. Some of the staff members I know personally and some have worked with in the past, additionally; I’ve lobbied hard to seat the President’s appointments. As with most governmental agencies they’re plagued with political hold over’s hanging on to and with their attempt to further their own political diatribe that we’ve experienced over the Obama administration years.

Most recently my support for President Trump went to his nominations of Katharine MacGregor as Deputy Secretary of the U.S. Department of the Interior and that of Aurelia Skipwith to be the Director of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service was paramount to get these nominees seated to engage in the protection, conservation and access of our public lands, and conserve our wildlife and their habitat. Which during the process they will address opening up wildlife refuges in Arizona and states for expanding hunting fishing opportunities. Several pieces of legislation need to be finalized, i.e. modernization of the Endangered Species Act.

Additional support went to U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service for opening up NWR’s Cabeza Prieta, Buenos Aires, Cibola and Leslie Canyon in southern Arizona.  We, The AZ Deer Association, and me as a hunter, feel the opening of the noted NWR’s is important to sportsmen-women and families plus the economic impact to Arizona, to have the ability to hunt big game species, other than Big Horn Sheep, to include but not limited to antelope, mule and white tailed deer, mountain lion, coyote, bobcat, badger, ringtail cat, kit and gray fox, spotted skunk, cottontail rabbit, black-tailed jack rabbit, Gambel’s and Mearn’s quail, mourning, white wing and Eurasian collared dove, as well as, other various species as identified by the Arizona Game and Fish Department.
We all look forward to having the ability to further enjoy our natural resources to the fullest extent and thank the fine folks at DOI, BLM & USFWS for the opening of these National Wildlife Refuges to multi-use opportunities as intended.

This past month I enjoyed the opportunities to sit down with Deputy Director MacGregor and Director Skipwith for a discussion on the NWR’s and hunting and fishing opportunities, the increased safety on activity with the advent of the increased border security systems being in place and nearly completed. I’m very impressed by the combined knowledge of the administration and commitment to conserve and protect our public lands and wildlife. Not only are they well experienced in administration, but they hunt and fish! They have the understanding to compromise with energy exploration and production on our public lands and mandate the levels of security to maintain the protective elements to preserve and protect and the key element of good stewardship of the land and its inhabitants. This aspect moves America along in being fuel self sufficient consistent with President Trump’s promise to the American people.

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Don McDowell, Arizona native, is an avid outdoorsman and has been an active bass pro fisherman for over 16 years and in the past 15 years has developed his own radio show promoting bass fishing and conservation efforts for bass fishing that escalated to nominations with several bass groups and organizations. In the past 12 years, Don has pursued his conservation agenda through AZBFN-TBF as Conservation Director and with the Arizona Game and Fish Department, in the spring of 2014 redesigned his website to include those efforts highlighted below and has increased the AZGFD exposure, public education of the AZGFD and Commission issues on his radio show and website soliciting local and national support for Arizona. 2014 has seen the founding of SRT Outdoors, Inc., 501 C3 organization, “Not for Profit, for Conservation” which is concentrating on grants for mitigating the effects of Gizzard Shad on Roosevelt lake thorough habitat enhancement, Florida Strain Bass stocking, lakes bottom mapping, etc. and feral hog research.

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