Backcountry Hunters & Anglers is initiating a national campaign, Stream Access Now, to uphold and expand public access to America’s streams and waterways. Officially launched last week at ICAST/IFTD, the largest gathering of sportfishing and fly fishing trade interests in the world, Stream Access Now is drawing strong support from some of the most powerful brands in the angling industry, who are stepping up on behalf of the access opportunities that are crucial to their livelihoods and the public’s outdoor traditions.
While acknowledging the importance of ongoing local activities surrounding stream access, BHA cited the significance of a focused, national effort by sportsmen to build upon, complement and expand these activities.
“Access to streams and waterways is the most important factor in the public’s ability to enjoy angling and waterfowling,” said BHA President and CEO Land Tawney. “Whether you’re a Great Lakes duck hunter or a fly fisherman in the Rockies, we all have a stake in strong, sensible state stream access laws that, while respecting private property rights, still allow us to pursue our passions.”
Stream Access Now takes a multi-pronged approach by:
- educating sportsmen and others about existing stream access laws, state by state;
- motivating them to get involved in the fight for stream access;
- activating them to block legislative and legal efforts to overturn or weaken state access laws – and to expand existing stream access opportunities.
“Our public access opportunities are far from guaranteed,” Tawney asserted. “Laws governing ownership of streambeds vary widely from state to state, and some states are facing challenges often bankrolled by special interests who want to lock out everyday sportsmen from public rivers. This impacts not only individuals but also an entire industry.”