Dear Friends, Thanksgiving is a time to reflect on all the things we are thankful for, and for many hunters this includes the special places we have visited during hunting season. We look back on the memories that were made in the field: “the ones that got away,” the laughter, friendship, and family around the campfire, the night skies, the silence of the forest, and being surrounded by everything natural. As I look back on the season, I am especially thankful for our vast and diverse public lands. Not having been born into wealth, I learned from my father, who was an avid hunter and fisherman, that by virtue of being an American citizen I’ve been included in an inheritance that goes far beyond material wealth.
I am a part owner of our public lands, and I share this wealth with every other American citizen.I also share the responsibility, along with my fellow Americans, to take care of and protect our shared lands for ourselves and future generations.
My ties to these lands are deeply rooted and have been handed down to my family from generation to generation. To have experienced my 70-year old dad and my 10-year old son hunt together on White Peak, where we have returned to for many years, gives me immense joy as does sitting around the campfire in the same special campsite we’ve been using for generations in Aspen Hill sharing life stories and lessons. These places, and many others, are special and support our traditional and cultural connections to the land. One of the most important lessons I learned from my dad was to always keep a watchful eye on those who threaten and seek to take this heritage away from us. Unchecked oil and gas development destroys landscapes, pollutes our air and water, fragments wildlife corridors, and threatens outdoor sporting traditions and culture. While we all rely on our oil and gas resources, we have a real responsibility to ensure that we develop these resources in ways that don’t permanently damage increasingly fragile resources like our land, water, and wildlife.
So this Thanksgiving, I am thankful for being blessed with public lands like White Peak and Aspen Hill. These are the places I go to recharge my soul, to hunt wildlife that sustains my family and friends for another winter, and to fish from our rivers and lakes. Public lands contain a great wealth that is bestowed upon each and every American man, woman, and child. This vast wealth should never be compromised; rather, it should be protected like a treasure to be handed down to the next generation and the next.
I am thankful that I will never have to look into my children’s or grandchildren’s eyes and say, I should have fought for our public lands, I should have done more to ensure that the inheritance of these lands would be handed down. I will continue to advocate for and fight for these lands, not just for my future generations, but for yours.
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[tweetthis]Share what you're thankful for in the Great Outdoors. #Outdoorsgiving[/tweetthis]
We'd love to hear from you and wish you a very Happy Thanksgiving to you and your loved ones.