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Controversy Around the Sage Grouse

BlueRibbon Coalition (BRC) has taken a leadership role for backcountry recreationists, thank goodness, in bringing common sense to the table regarding the sage grouse.  The whole drama is being played out over possible listing under the Endangered Species Act (ESA).  Ranchers have invested thousands of dollars in modifying habitat on private lands to try and prevent listing; federal and state agencies have invested untold dollars and staff time studying this bird over the last 60 years; and scientists have issued conflicting reports, over and over, contradicting each other, or countering the claims of another group or scientist.  It’s hard to even follow.  But again, thank goodness for groups like BRC.

For those of us who use a motorized vehicle in the pursuit of what makes us happy, or helps us earn a living, BRC has taken the common sense, science-based approach that includes the belief that responsible motorized recreation can coexist with the sage grouse in its habitat by factoring into the equation four pro-active OHV management prescriptions for managing this bird on public lands.

BRC (under the Sage Grouse Task Force headed by Don Amador) is writing comments and helping recreationists provide input in all affected areas with these recommended prescriptions:

1. Maintain TMR direction for using only designated routes and trails.
2. Implement limited operating periods for critical areas (such as crack of dawn around leks) from Mar. 1 to May 15.
3. Adhere to measures to ensure invasive species prevention.
4. Ensure sound ordinances are in place.

People can coexist with the sage grouse but we, the people, must be involved in our agencies and elected officials to ensure that happens!  The THREE things you can do include:

1. Join BRC (if not a member yet) and donate to the Sage Grouse Action Fund.
2. Stay abreast and help your state association in dealing with area-specific sage grouse issues and meetings.
3. Don’t sit back and wait for someone else to do it for you or your trails will be as scarce as logging trucks in a National Park.

The BlueRibbon Coalition (BRC) is a national non-profit organization that champions responsible recreation and encourages a strong conservation ethic and individual stewardship, while providing leadership in efforts to keep outdoor recreation alive and well -- all sports; all trails.  With members in all 50 states, BRC is focused on building enthusiast involvement with organizational efforts through membership, outreach, education and collaboration among recreationists. 1-800-BLUERIB -  www.BlueRibbonCoalition.Org

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