One Woman’s Fight To Keep Public Lands Public
“Momma, Can I take something that belongs to our family, sell it and put the money in my piggy bank?”
“Of course not kiddo! It belongs to all of us. It’s not yours to sell! What would that be called?”
I am not a rancher or a farmer.
I am not a millionaire or a celebrity.
I am a mom, a wife and a passionate outdoorswoman.
I live in a humble home on a little lot that my husband and I purchased years ago to raise our family.
Yet, when I walk out my back door my world is opened to thousands upon thousands of acres.
Country composed of rivers, lakes and streams that home the fish native to them.
Endless land containing mountains and valleys that yield the game we harvest.
I am a native to this land.
From the time I was an infant this has been my home.
When in these hills, I am surrounded by sounds heard nowhere else; smells that could never be bottled; colors, shapes and beauty that no artist could every completely capture. I feel the earth beneath my feet and I taste what only these hills can offer.
This land has provided for my family since before my time.
It offers food to nourish our bodies; opportunities to experience what we could only dream.
It has provided a place of refuge and place of adventure.
This land is part of my heritage.
This is my Land.
My children were born and raised in this land.
Climbing the peaks and walking the valleys.
Splashing in the waters and crumbling the dirt in their hands.
Learning the art of silence and experiencing the gift of creation.
This is where they have the freedom to hope and dream of someday raising their families.
This land is part of my legacy.
This is their land.
This land belongs to you. It is there for you to hunt, to hike, to fish and to explore. It is there for you to re-connect with what was originally and to experience how it was meant to be.
This land will hold your adventures and the memories you create, awaiting your return.
This is your land.
This land sees no economic status, race, or class.
It is for all.
This is our land.
And this land is under attack.
Some believe that this land, and all it holds, can be sold to the highest bidder,
as though it is just another bargaining tool for those sitting in high offices.
They forget us; our way of life and our values.
They forget where we come from.
Theodore Roosevelt once said “I do not believe that any man can adequately appreciate the world of today unless he has some knowledge of the history of the world of the past.”
And so we ask ourselves the questions: Where did this land come from? Is it really mine? Can it be taken away from my children and handed over to the one with the deepest pockets?
In the early 1900s, Theodore Roosevelt and his fellow visionaries saw the importance of protecting our land, for the benefit of the land itself, as well as for the future generations that will use it.
They set our country apart by declaring that fish and wildlife belong to each of us –and we all have equal opportunities to access and enjoy them.
They created laws and regulations that protect our land. They helped initiate standards for ethical hunting and opened the doors to many organizations that have since fought for and protected the land that is ours.
But as Roosevelt stated, we must “look into the history of the world past.”
Past Roosevelt …
To the beginning.
Where the past, present and future collide.
Roosevelt reflected “There are no words that can tell the hidden spirit of the wilderness, that can reveal its mystery, its melancholy, and its charm.”
And the One that created this wilderness challenged us: “ask the beasts, and they will teach you; the birds of the heavens, and they will tell you and the fish of the sea will declare to you. Who among all these does not know that the hand of the Lord has done this. In His hand is the life of every living thing. (Job 12:7)
This land was HIS land.
From the beginning.
And He gave it to us.
Created from the dust of the earth, and then placed as the head of it all.
It is clear that from the beginning, before government, money or self-interest, this land was given to man to use, care for, manage and provide from.
We are not fighting for a new idea, or even an idea of recent centuries.
This is the way it was meant to be, from the onset of it all.
Therefore, it is our responsibility to be stewards of this land; managing it, conserving it and protecting it.
And so we will answer the call.
As we hunt and harvest ethically we care for and maintain what was entrusted into our hands from the beginning.
We are being stewards of creation, and we are passing that stewardship down to our children and their generation.
This land is our land.
We cannot make something private that, by very design was meant to be public.
No amount of money, government or new ideas should alter the very fundamental rules that were set forth from the beginning of creation and again at the establishment of our nation.
This land is our land.
This land is our home. Do not shut us out.
This land is our children’s future. Do not rob them.
We will fight for the habitats of the animals under our care, so that we can provide for our families and enjoy the wild that surrounds them.
We will fight for the waters to hold the fish that swim free there, so we can cast our lines.
We will fight for the mountains, valleys, rivers, streams, lakes and peaks to remain in the hands of the people it was designed for …us.
We will fight to defend our heritage, and to guarantee our legacy.
This land is our land.
This land is public land.