On the twentieth day of April, in the year of our Lord two thousand twelve, President Obama declared this week National Park Week. Ironically, during this very week, the U.S. Senate is considering a bill that would allow hunting on our national parks! H.R. 4089, the so-called “Sportsmen’s Heritage Act of 2012,” passed the House of Representatives on April 17th and is now with the Senate. Once again the fate of our lands and waters—and the life that depends on them—has been cast into doubt. To paraphrase the president’s proclamation, as Americans and as inhabitants of this one small planet, it is up to us to preserve our national heritage for the generations (human and non-nonhuman alike) to come.
Lumped in with the “Sportsmen’s” Act are such abhorrent offerings as the Recreational Shooting Protection Act, which requires National Monument land under BLM’s jurisdiction to be open to access and use for “recreational” shooting (ground squirrels, and prairie dogs beware), and the Polar Bear “Conservation and Fairness” Act of 2012, which would amend the Marine Mammal Protection Act of 1972 to direct the Secretary of the Interior to issue a permit for the importation of any polar bear carcass killed during a sport hunt in Canada.
As long as they remain off-limits to hunting, our national parks are some of the best places for viewing and photographing wildlife without causing undue stress. Since they’ve learned they’re safe within park boundaries, animals are not so shy and distrustful of human presence—as long as said human maintains a polite distance. And because they’re protected, park moose, elk or bighorn sheep are allowed to grow the kind of impressive antlers or horns now rare in hunted populations.
We can’t let the “Sportsmen’s Heritage Act” undermine the serenity of our last few protected places. Please contact your Senator and urge them to oppose H.R. 4089: https://secure.humanesociety.org/site/Advocacy?cmd=display&page=UserAction&id=5507&s_src=shareonfb