Open air in Maine: Preservation try dangerous to looking

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There has been debate over the years as to whether the national environmental organization Sierra Club was in fact opposed to our hunting rights in this country.

V. Paul Reynolds, outdoor columnist

Not long ago, the NRA, a pro-hunting advocate, canceled its supporting membership in the Outdoor Writers Association of America (OWAA) because the OWAA supports the Sierra Club.

Some outdoor writers have taken a mediocre stance, arguing that embracing these two politically powerful national organizations, the NRA and the Sierra Club, is not contradictory. A few hunters I know belong to the Sierra Club without hesitation.

We are increasingly living in a seductive age of information overload in which the truth is becoming increasingly difficult to discern, particularly in well-funded and cleverly marketed power groups like the NRA and Sierra Club.

I believe the only defense is to follow actions rather than words. Check this out.

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The Sierra Club recently renewed its push to convert the 70,000-acre Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area into a national park and preserve, closing tens of thousands of acres to hunting area athletes. Their plan is to rededicate a large portion of the area to Delaware River National Park.

The Sierra Club pushed this idea for about a decade, but due to opposition from hunters and hunting organizations, they have yet to get this change through Congress. Of course, hunters know that with the designation as a national park, hunting is prohibited. This renaming as a national park would effectively put a “no hunting” sign on tens of thousands of acres of public land that hunters from several states have enjoyed for decades.

And the Sierra Club New Jersey Chapter — the leaders in this move — are not shy about why they are pushing so hard for this change right now. From their website:

“…we recognize that the current favorable climate in Congress is weak. We are working to pass this legislation in the current session… The change could be as simple as attaching a tab to a budget.”

In other words, act quickly to ban recreational hunting in the Delaware Water Gap before the Democratic majority in Congress is overthrown in next fall’s midterm elections.

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Effectively driving hunters out of 70,000 acres of traditional hunting ground in one fell swoop is an odd way of promoting conservation, which is the mantra of the Sierra Club. Obviously, the Sierra Club does not subscribe to the concept that “hunters are conservationists”.

You can walk that middle ground if it suits you, but I can’t. Closing the Delaware Water Gap to recreational hunting isn’t the first anti-hunting initiative being pushed by the Sierra Club. Toxic to American hunting heritage, this group just can’t escape the Reynolds duck test: if it looks like a duck, walks like a duck, it’s probably a…

V. Paul Reynolds is editor of Northwoods Sporting Journal, author, travel guide to Maine, and host of the weekly radio show “Maine Outdoors” aired Sundays at 7:00 p.m. on The Voice of Maine News-Talk Network. Contact him at [email protected]

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