Trout Unlimited California Director
11/24/2003 -- Los Angeles, Calif. -- A poll conducted for national conservation group Trout Unlimited by Republican pollster Stephen M. Kinney of Public Opinion Strategies shows strong support among voters in the 24th and 25th congressional districts in Southern California for increased federal protection of the state’s public lands and waters. Represented by Congressmen Elton Gallegly (R-24) and Howard “Buck” McKeon (R-25), both districts are heavily Republican.
About 70 percent of those polled say they hike and camp on California’s public lands and rivers, and more than 35 percent hunt and fish on federal lands. Currently, only 14 percent of those lands in the state are protected from development by the federal government, and less than 1 percent of the miles of rivers in the state are protected from new dams and development.
In both districts, fully 60 percent of respondents said they believed that not enough miles of California’s rivers are protected by the federal government. Similarly, more than 60 percent of voters surveyed said they would favor protecting 1.6 million acres of public lands in Southern California as federal wilderness, and an additional 241 miles of river as wild and scenic.
“What is abundantly clear from this survey is that voters — Republican and Democrat — want more protection for the public lands and rivers they fish, hunt and camp on, and don’t believe these public resources are adequately protected right now,” said David Katz, TU California Director.
“The voters surveyed clearly want their public lands protected from overdevelopment, especially from damage caused by oil and gas drilling and off-road vehicles,” said pollster Stephen M. Kinney. About 80 percent of voters surveyed agreed that public lands needed protection from off-road vehicles, energy drilling and other development.
Trout Unlimited commissioned the poll because of the strong correlations among undeveloped public lands and waters and the remaining strong populations of native trout and salmon in California, including steelhead and native cutthroat trout.
“Protecting our remaining undeveloped lands and rivers is key to responsible stewardship of native trout and salmon, and that’s as true in California as it is anywhere in the West,” said Sam Mace, Wildlands Fisheries Coordinator for TU.
Mission: Trout Unlimited is North America’s leading coldwater fisheries conservation organization, dedicated to the conservation, protection and restoration of trout and salmon fisheries and their watersheds. The organization has more than 130,000 members in 450 chapters in North America.