The passage of the Natural Resources Management Act is a historic win for our public lands, outdoor heritage, and conservation across the country, Hispanics Enjoying Camping, Hunting and the Outdoors (HECHO) said today. HECHO urged the president to swiftly sign it into law.
“From permanently reauthorizing the Land and Water Conservation Fund to protecting new Wilderness and other public lands, this legislation is a historic victory for conservation. The president should swiftly sign it into law,” said HECHO Executive Director Camilla Simon. “It’s not just land and it’s not just water, our public lands are the essence of our democracy – where all Americans have equal ownership and access regardless of cultural or socioeconomic backgrounds.”
“The Land and Water Conservation Fund is a vital extension of our historic and cultural preservation systems – a part of our collective American heritage that’s one of the most important legacies to be handed down to our children and grandchildren,” said HECHO Advisory Board Chair Rock Ulibarri.
The public lands package of over 100 pieces of legislation provides sweeping protections for our nation’s land, water, and outdoor heritage. It includes 1.3 million acres of federal land to be protected as wilderness, 370,000 acres of federal land to be withdrawn from mining around national parks, establishment of the Every Kid Outdoors program to provide free access to Federal land and waters for 4th graders and their families, and permanently authorizes the Land and Water Conservation Fund, a bipartisan program that has had a 54-year track record of success that touches every state and nearly every county in America.
Also included in the bill is the Emery County Public Land Management Act, which establishes 663,000 acres of wilderness protections in Utah’s San Rafael Swell area and Desolation and Labyrinth Canyons.
“Hispanic endeavors have a long and enduring legacy in Utah starting with Fathers Dominguez and Escalante whose expedition in 1776 laid the foundations for the Old Spanish Trail,” said Salt Lake City-based HECHO Advisory Board Member Rebecca Chavez-Houck. “The Old Spanish Trail crossed the San Rafael region where traders brought goods from Santa Fe to Los Angeles. Latino heritage continues today with Hispanic populations in Price and Green River, and throughout Utah.
“Eighty three percent of Utah's Latino population lives within driving distance of Emery County’s new wilderness areas, providing access for all communities, including Latino communities, to experience wilderness for current and future generations.”