26 July

Refuge Expansion in Jeopardy

After a year long campaign by Arkansas sportsmen and conservation groups the refuge expansion proposal is now in jeopardy. Apparently stalled by  politically connected anti-refuge “fat cats” your congressmen depend on for donations.

The expansion proposal was the refuge’s noble plan  to preserve some of the last  remaining bottomland forests near the lower White River, while adding over 125,000 acres of public land for Arkansas hunters. Approval would have allowed the refuge to buy land from willing sellers, using money from hunters Duck Stamp dollars and LWC Funds. (No general taxpayer dollars would be used)

Bowing to pressure from elected officials, the USFWS issued a news release Friday “pausing” the proposed 125,000 acre expansion of the Dale Bumpers/White River National Wildlife Refuge that was widely supported by Arkansas Sportsmen and conservationists. In the press release David Viker, SE Region Chief said: “While there is significant support for the expansion…..we take the concerns of those who oppose it seriously.”

At the outset some opposition was expected from the radical fringes. It was a given based on the size,  scope and visibility of the expansion plan. Though it may be a noble effort by the USFWS, it is not practical or realistic  to convince every wacko “sovereign citizen” Cliven Bundy rancher to embrace the  benefits of having a National
Cliven Bundy vs Public Lands
Wildlife Refuge. These people couldn't give a rats ass about wildlife, the habitat,  or conserving them for future generations. If they can't immediately benefit from it or it doesn't make them richer…They're not gonna support it.

If it were up to a vote today, refuge expansion supporters would blow away the naysayers in sheer numbers. Consider the Friends of White River’s 15,000+ FaceBook fans, the 1,200 petition signers, as well as the public support from the thousands of members of the: Arkansas Bowhunters Association,  Arkansas Wildlife Federation, Arkansas Audubon Society, ArkLA Squirrel & Coon Hunters, Arkansas Canoe Club, as well as the National Wildlife Refuge Association. With 47% of Arkansas hunters dependent upon public lands it’s not surprising so many Arkansas sportsmen support it.

Frustratingly for Arkansas’ sportsmen, the actions of some of our congressmen confirms what many of you already intuitively knew…., they do not represent the interests of the majority but are instead ruled by the well connected few they so desperately depend on for donations. Their hope is YOU won't pay  attention. Their hope is YOU won’t bother to get involved. In this way they can continue to cater to their donors while ignoring the sportsmen of Arkansas.  In doing so Arkansas conservation efforts will suffer as potentially millions of dollars in Duck Stamp monies along with LWC Funds will now be diverted to other states.

Arkansas, the natural state.

--->Jim Taylor

Speak up and let them know you support the refuge expansion.

Senator Boozman's Office:
Chris Caldwell
D.C. Office: 202-224-4843
Little Rock Office: 501-372-7153

Senator Pryor's Office:
Russell Hall
FAX: 501-324-5320
D.C. Office: 202-224-2353 D.C.
Little Rock Office: 501-324-6336

Representative Rick Crawford
Call Jay Sherrod
FAX: 501-843-4955
Little Rock Office: 501-843-3043

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1 comment:

  1. I guess I am missing something in your article. How are Boozman, Pryor and Crawford involved in stalling the expansion ?