Protecting Habitat by Balancing Conservation and Outdoor Recreation on Public Lands

Number 2019-05

WHEREAS, pressure on wildlife and wildlife habitat is increasing on public lands; and

WHEREAS, protecting wildlife and important wildlife habitat on public lands is highly valued by Americans; and

WHEREAS, conserving wildlife populations as well as protecting and restoring important blocks of wildlife habitat on public lands should be prioritized; and

WHEREAS, enjoyment of outdoor recreation helps to sustain our quality of life, as it is beneficial to our personal health, well-being and to our economy; and

WHEREAS, it is important to accommodate both quality outdoor recreation and wildlife conservation on our public lands; and

WHEREAS, certain recreational trail routes have impacts on wildlife as illustrated by a recent peer-reviewed study that found elk were affected by various types of trails-based recreation, depending upon separation distances and type of human activity; and

WHEREAS, as demand for new outdoor recreational trails increases on public lands, management options and solutions as well as public education are necessary to maintain a balance between outdoor recreation and wildlife conservation.

NOW, THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the National Wildlife Federation at its annual meeting assembled June 5-8, 2019, in St. Louis, Missouri, recognizes that protecting wildlife habitat on public lands by balancing conservation and outdoor recreation is an important federation-wide conservation strategy that requires heightened visibility; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the National Wildlife Federation urges the Congress and our public lands agencies to advance and promote both outdoor recreation and the protection of sensitive wildlife habitat through careful balance and emphasizing access for the former in less sensitive locations. Such legislation and regulations should aim for more careful siting and development of new or expanded trails and other recreation investment on public lands through process improvements. Such improvements should include specific analysis in environmental review, standards and guidelines for habitat protection in planning documents, and other means by which migratory corridors, core carnivore habitat, and other invaluable wildlife assets receive priority.

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the National Wildlife Federation calls upon Congress to fund the restoration of authorized and unauthorized recreational sites degrading wildlife habitat, as well as the relocation of important recreational assets in unsustainable locations; and ensure for adequate education, enforcement, and maintenance planning and implementation so that important wildlife habitats remain intact.