Outdoors

Poll finds Western sportsmen back land, air, water protections


Bugling bull elk, a rare hunting opportunity in the relatively small Wenaha-Tucannon Wilderness of Washington, are fair game for hunters in the sprawling Bob Marshall Wilderness of Montana.
 (File/Associated Press / The Spokesman-Review)
Bugling bull elk, a rare hunting opportunity in the relatively small Wenaha-Tucannon Wilderness of Washington, are fair game for hunters in the sprawling Bob Marshall Wilderness of Montana. (File/Associated Press / The Spokesman-Review)

CONSERVATION — Western voters who identify themselves as sportsmen view America’s public lands as critical to their state’s economy and quality of life, accoding to survey results released Monday by Colordao College, in Colorado Springs.

The State of the Rockies Conservation in the West poll found that Western sportsmen support upholding protections for clean air, clean water, natural areas and wildlife.

The survey covered AZ, CO, MT, NM, UT and WY, but Idaho was not included.

A college press release says the poll was conducted by Lori Weigel of Public Opinion Strategies (a Republican firm) and Dave Metz of Fairbank, Maslin, Maullin, Metz & Associates (a Democratic firm).

According to the results:

  • 92 percent of sportsmen – the majority of whom identify as politically conservative or moderate – believe that national parks, forests, monuments, and wildlife areas are an “essential part” of the economies of these states.
  • Nearly two-thirds of sportsmen polled also opposed allowing private companies to develop public lands when it would limit the public’s enjoyment of – or access to – these lands, and the same percentage believe in maintaining current conservation measures for land, air and water.
  • More than two out of every three sportsmen view loss of habitat for fish and wildlife as a serious threat to a quality outdoor experience.  Further, 75 percent of sportsmen polled indicated that cuts in funding for parks, habitat, and water quality pose a serious threat to their hunting heritage and western lifestyle.
  • Sportsmen and members of the general public agreed that even with tight state budgets, the government should maintain investments in land, parks, water and wildlife conservation.

These results bolster the findings of a major survey commissioned by the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation late last year, which measures the significant economic impacts associated with outdoor recreation and makes the case that conservation programs are a common sense investment.

The full sportsmen’s survey is available on the Colorado College website.

A fact sheet highlights the results.




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Rich Landers

Rich Landers’ Outdoors blog


Rich Landers writes and photographs stories for a wide range of outdoors coverage, including a Sunday feature section and a Thursday column. He also writes the Outdoors Blog.

By Rich Landers richl@spokesman.com (509) 459-5508


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