December 12, 2014
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
Anglers, hunters cheer passage of Pine Forest Act
Bipartisan bill protects habitat, sporting opportunity, multiple use values
in northwest Nevada
WINNEMUCCA, Nev.–Trout Unlimited members and volunteers in Nevada and across the West today cheered Congress for passing a package of public lands bills that includes the Pine Forest Range Recreation Enhancement Act, saying the measure would permanently protect high-quality habitat for fish and game, help recover the threatened native Lahontan cutthroat trout, and protect recreational access and sporting opportunities in one of Nevadas most unique wild places.
The Pine Forest Range is a complex of largely undeveloped public lands in northwestern Nevada. The Act, shaped locally by sportsmen, county officials and other stakeholders, designates 26,000 acres of two wilderness study areas as the Pine Forest Range Wilderness, releases other lands from consideration as wilderness, relocates several roads to better protect sensitive habitat, and provides for acquisition of valuable habitat through a land exchange.
There is no sporting opportunity without quality habitat,” said Jim Jeffress, Nevada backcountry coordinator for TU. “This bill guarantees access for anglers and hunters and ensures that the excellent fishing and hunting values of this special place will be permanently protected. At the same time, it protects the interests of ranchers, water users, other recreational user groups and environmental organizations.
Jeffress said sportsmen were the driving force behind the Pine Forest Range conservation initiative. Tiger trout, brown trout, chukars, sage grouse, mule deer and California bighorn sheep are popular targets for sportsmen in the range.
We thought the hard part was done when we reached agreement among the stakeholders in Humboldt County, but getting the bill through Congress turned out to be a years-long adventure,” Jeffress said. “We thank Rep. Amodei and Sens. Reid and Heller for their leadership and commitment to shepherding this bipartisan bill through the legislative process.
The Pine Forest Range Recreation Enhancement Act was developed through a stakeholder-driven process initiated by members of the Humboldt County Commission. Jeffress said local elected officials, business owners, ranchers, sportsmen, off-highway vehicle enthusiast and wilderness advocates got together and went over maps and the country itself, going stream by stream, ridge by ridge, and road by road to identify and protect the multiple-use values of the area.
The outcome was legislation endorsed by a wide variety of interest groups and community leaders as well as the Nevada Association of Counties, Gov. Brian Sandoval, and Nevadas entire congressional delegation.
The Pine Forest bill is a model of how public land designations should be handled,” said Sen. Dean Heller, a Nevada Republican. “This was done in an open and transparent manner that brought local communities and stakeholders to the table.
The Nevada lands package also will permanently protect important habitat for mule deer, sage grouse, and other game species in Lyon County, Nevada, as part of the 47,449 acre Wovoka Wilderness.
Trout Unlimited is the nations oldest and largest coldwater fisheries conservation organization dedicated to conserving, protecting and restoring North Americas trout and salmon and their watersheds. Follow TU on Facebook and Twitter, and visit us online at www.tu.org.