Our birth right as Americans is our shared ownership of wildlife and public lands. Wide-open country, unfettered by the modern and dispensable trappings of the 21st century, is what sets us apart from the gentrified countries that have outlawed hunting and banned gun ownership.
It is not our great cities that make us different. Our concrete jungles are not so different than those of Paris, London or Buenos Aires. The interstate highway system does not make us different, nor do our sky-scrapers or suburban shopping malls.
What makes us different, rugged, American, is our public land and our freedoms. The places far from the road, where cell phones stop working and nothing is left but our own sense of confidence and self-reliance make us Americans.
Our system of roads and trails that provide access to our public lands are essential to hunting and fishing and we will fight to protect motorized access for sportsmen. But what value is access when game and fish populations are negatively impacted by overuse or abuse? As sportsmen, we know that with our sport comes with responsibility. This means shooting game well and cleanly, it means turning in poachers and others who violate our laws, and it means riding or driving our machines ethically and responsibly (click here to learn more about riding responsibly). Our heritage of the great outdoors and our tradition of accessing it lie with the responsibility to do it right. We know that if we don’t, we could stand to lose. A well-regulated system of roads and trails on our public lands is more than sound game and fish management, it’s part of our patriotic duty to leave wild places where future generations can go to find the wide open spaces that in many ways define us.