Saturday, March 23, 2019

Michigan: Grant would Improve Silver Creek Equestrian Park

Allegannews.com - Full Article

March 21 2019
By: Ryan Lewis, Editor

If won, a $300,000 state grant could improve Silver Creek County Park near Hamilton.

Allegan County Commissioners voted 5-2 at their March 14 meeting to approve applying for the grant, which will add barrier-free campsites, a new parking area, a payment booth, electrical service and a security light.

The improvements are designed to improve access at the 49-year-old rustic camp primarily used by equestrians. It currently has 75 camp sites, all available for horse camping.

The county is applying to the Michigan Natural Resources Trust Fund for the grant; another $125,700 of the parks department money will exceed the local, required match to qualify for it...

Read more here:
http://www.allegannews.com/allegan-news-news/grant-would-improve-silver-creek-equestrian-park

Sunday, March 17, 2019

“Dealing with Opposition to Equestrian Trails” - Free Webinar

ELCR.org

March 19 @ 7:00 pm

The most effective way to prevent opposition from derailing a trail project is to ensure there is none – or that opposition is so minimal as to be insignificant. Understanding the causes of opposition is critical to moving forward. Though there are a variety of circumstances that can generate opposition, developing your organization and communication plan long before any trail plans are made can go a long way to ensure a broad base of support for trail projects. Presenter Mark Flint zeroes in on this topic, and will lead you through a few simple steps to that can not only help you develop a support network that ensures success, but provide support in other areas, such as finding and managing volunteers and fundraising.

Presenter Mark Flint

Mark Flint is a professional trail designer from Tucson Arizona. Owner of Southwest Trail Solutions, the company has designed trails in Vermont and Nevada as well as in many parts of Arizona. Also working as a part-time trails program coordinator for Pima County, Mark was heavily involved in the design and construction of the Arizona National Scenic Trail in Southern Arizona.

Mark has a good feel for all around trail use and users. Growing up on cattle ranches, Mark was riding horses from the time he could walk, and worked as a cowboy before opting for a more secure career choice. He has been an avid mountain biker, hiker and backpacker, focusing at last on his first transportation of choice, horses.

Mark is a chief regional steward for the Arizona Trail Association, and is author of “Desert Trails: Designing and Building Trails in a Harsh and Demanding Environment.”

REGISTER HERE FOR MARCH 19th WEBINAR

Saturday, March 16, 2019

My Horse University and Equine Land Conservation Resources to Co-Host Trails Webinar

Lexington, KY – March 12, 2019 – My Horse University and Equine Land Conservation Resource will co-host a free webinar on March 19, 2019, at 7:00 pm Eastern Daylight Saving Time entitled “How They Did It: Dealing with Opposition to Equestrian Trails,” presented by trails expert Mark Flint.

Why attend this webinar? There are a variety of circumstances that can lead to opposition to horse trails, and Mark is well-versed in tackling that opposition head-on. Horse enthusiasts, planners and designers will learn about sources of opposition that can emerge in any community; the importance of preparing your equine organization to advocate for horse trails; developing your communication plan long before any trail plans are made; and actions to ensure that opposition is minimalized or eliminated from the outset. Mark will lead you through a few simple steps to develop an effective support network that will help you find and manage volunteers, raise needed funds and handle many other demands.

Mark Flint is a professional trail designer from Tucson Arizona and chief regional steward for the Arizona Trail Association. Owner of Southwest Trail Solutions, the company has designed trails in Vermont and Nevada as well as in many parts of Arizona. Also working as a part-time trails program coordinator for Pima County, Mark was heavily involved in the design and construction of the Arizona National Scenic Trail in Southern Arizona. He has been an avid mountain biker, outdoorsman and equestrian, focusing most recently on his lifelong love of horses.

To register for the webinar, visit https://zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_kipxMljfQlG9GWd6Cs3GJQ.


About My Horse University (MHU): MHU was established in 2005 at Michigan State University, a land-grant university with nationally ranked programs in equine science and management. MHU was created through a partnership between MSU Extension, the MSU Department of Animal Science, and MSU Global. MHU brings research and knowledge from world-renowned experts to online educational material available to horse enthusiasts worldwide. Visit www.MyHorseUniversity.com, or call (517) 432-5131.


About the Equine Land Conservation Resource (ELCR): ELCR builds awareness of the loss of lands available for horse-related activities and facilitates the protection and conservation of those lands working to ensure America’s equine heritage lives on and the emotional, physical and economic benefits of the horse-human relationship remains accessible. ELCR serves as an information resource and clearinghouse on conserving horse properties, land use planning, land stewardship/best management practices, trails, liability and equine economic impact. For more information about the ELCR visit www.elcr.org or call (859) 455-8383.

Wednesday, February 27, 2019

Webinar: “Now That e-Bikes Are On Trails, What Do We Know?”

AmericanTrailsStore.org - Register here

A part of the American Trails Advancing Trails Webinar Series, “Now That e-Bikes Are On Trails, What Do We Know?” is a continuation of the 2017 webinar on e-bike access and management, designed to highlight “what we know” about e-bike use on paved, soft surface, and singletrack trails.

Presenters:

Morgan Lommele, E-Bike Campaign Manager, PeopleForBikes
Chris Bernhardt, Principal, C2 Recreation Consulting
Mary Ann Bonnell, Visitor Services Manager, Jefferson County Open Space, CO

STEPS TO REGISTER AND PAY FOR THE WEBINAR

STEP 1: PAY FOR THE WEBINAR. You can also purchase an American Trails membership through the store — just click the “Keep Shopping” link when you see your shopping cart.
STEP 2: While in our store, if the person attending the webinar and their email will be different than the billing name please include the attendee’s full name and email address in the NOTES section.
STEP 3: You’re done! The attendee’s email address will receive a separate confirmation email from GoToWebinar (customercare@gotowebinar.com) containing information about joining the Webinar.
Additional Information:

Payments Accepted:
Payments accepted are credit cards (Visa and MasterCard), checks, and purchase orders. If paying via purchase order, please select “check” as your payment method in the online store and in the “notes” section write in your purchase order number.

Audio Choices:

You can call in to the webinar using your telephone, keeping in mind that you will incur long distance charges and/or usage charges (depending on your carrier), or
So as not to incur long distance charges, you can listen to the webinar using the speakers on your computer (if your computer has that option).

Recording:
All webinars in the American Trails Advancing Trails Webinar Series are recorded. An unedited transcript will also be sent to attendees as closed captioning is offered for our webinars. A link to the recording is included with the purchase of the webinar and will be sent within a day or two following the webinar, along with a pdf of the resources slide shown during the Q&A portion of the webinar that includes presenter contact information. Access to the recordings may also be purchased after the live session through the American Trails Online Store.

Closed Captioning
Complimentary closed captioning is English is offered for our webinars, thanks to a partnership with VZP Digital. If you require closed captioning in another language, please email trailhead@americantrails.org in advance of the webinar.

Learning Credits and CEUs:
American Trails is now proud to be a certified provider of the following learning credits and continuing education opportunities:

Landscape Architecture Continuing Education System (LA CES)
American Institute of Certified Planners Continuing Maintenance (AICP CM)
National Recreation and Park Association (NRPA) CEU equivalency petition

Learning credits are included in the registration fee. When purchasing, indicate which learning credit you require, if any. Our webinars earn the following credits: AICP CM (1.5) LA CES (1.5), and NRPA CEU equivalency petition (0.10). Credits are available for live and archived webinars starting with our January 2018 webinar.

Questions?
Contact the American Trails office at trailhead@americantrails.org or (530) 605-4395.

Register for the webinar here:
https://www.americantrails.org/training/now-that-e-bikes-are-on-trails-what-do-we-know

Sunday, February 24, 2019

This New 4,000 Mile Trail Will Let People Bike From Coast to Coast on One Seamless Path

Travelandleisure.com - Read more and see video

ANDREA ROMANO FEBRUARY 21, 2019
Grab your helmet and set out for the great outdoors.

But instead of opting for a classic summer road trip, you’ll soon be able to try out something a little more challenging — like biking across the mainland United States.

And soon it’s going to be easier than ever. According to Lonely Planet, the Rails-to-Trails Conservancy (RTC) has announced a cross-country, multi-use trail that will run across 12 states and Washington D.C., known as The Great American Rail Trail...

Read more here:
https://www.travelandleisure.com/travel-news/great-american-rail-trail

Saturday, February 23, 2019

Massive public lands bill expected to receive easy approval in the House

Mcclatchydc.com - Full Article

By Julianna Rennie
February 20, 2019 12:54 PM

More than 1.3 million acres of new wilderness would be designated. Four national monuments would be created. Thousands of acres of land would be protected from future mining development. And firefighting technology would be upgraded using GPS and drones.

All this is a part of a massive public lands package the House is poised to pass next week and send to President Donald Trump.

The package co-sponsored by Sen. Maria Cantwell, a Democrat from Washington state, and Sen. Lisa Murkowski, a Republican from Alaska, also permanently reauthorizes the Land and Water Conservation Fund, a program that uses revenue from offshore oil and natural gas drilling to support conservation projects in every state...

Read more here: https://www.mcclatchydc.com/news/politics-government/congress/article226505545.html#storylink=cpy

Thursday, February 21, 2019

Congress moves forward on Land and Water Conservation Fund reauthorization

SmokyMountainNews.com - Full Article

Written by Admin
20 February 2019

The U.S. Senate voted Feb. 12 to permanently reauthorize the Land and Water Conservation Fund, an important funding source for conservation projects nationwide.

The bill was introduced by Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, and Maria Cantwell, D-Washington, with a bipartisan list of co-sponsors. Though Sen. Richard Burr, R-North Carolina, is not included on the sponsor list, he introduced a related piece of legislation this month that also attempted to permanently reauthorize the fund.

“The Land and Water Conservation Fund may cost taxpayers nothing, but Congress’ failure to renew it would cost us all dearly,” Burr said in a press release. “Without this program, every state in the country would lose out on valuable outdoor recreation projects, beautiful natural landscapes, and easy access to state and national parks. It’s been four months since LWCF was allowed to expire despite its proven track record of success and overwhelming bipartisan support. It is long past time for Congress do the right thing by renewing America’s most successful conservation program...”

Read more here:
https://www.smokymountainnews.com/outdoors/item/26432-congress-moves-forward-on-land-and-water-conservation-fund-reauthorization

Monday, February 18, 2019

Horse Camping Weekend at Camp Creek State Park in West Virginia

Equitrekking.com - Full Story

May 28 2017
by Susan St. Amand

An Extended Horse Camping Weekend in Wild, Wonderful West Virginia at Camp Creek State Park & State Forest.

A beautiful horse camping facility named Double C Horse and Rider Campground is located in Camp Creek, West Virginia, situated within the Camp Creek State Park and State Forest. Reservations are required for this secluded and gated horse camping area separated from the rest of the park. Thirteen horse camping sites are available with open horse stalls and pens in a cul-de-dac surrounded by trees and bordered by a creek. Restrooms are also available.

The park contains other family amenities and camping areas as well as a small camp store, playgrounds, picnic areas and outdoor ampitheatre. With the nearby creeks, fishing is also an option. The park is very well maintained and the park staff were very friendly. Trails were well marked with trail maps also available...

Read more here:
https://equitrekking.com/articles/entry/horse-camping-weekend-at-camp-creek-state-park-in-west-virginia/?mc_cid=a82fc155f7&mc_eid=290b655fe3

Friday, February 15, 2019

When public lands are blocked, Idahoans have no recourse. This bill seeks to change that.

IdahoStatesman.com - Full Article

By Nicole Blanchard
February 13, 2019

Idaho legislators on Monday voted to introduce a bill that would give the public the ability to file suit against someone who bars access to public land.

The Senate Resources and Environment Committee voted unanimously to move Senate bill 1089 forward. The bill is sponsored by Sen. Fred Martin, R-Boise. On Wednesday morning, it wasn’t immediately clear when the next action on the bill would take place.

The Idaho Wildlife Federation, a local conservation group, has been working on the legislation for two years, according to executive director Brian Brooks. The proposed legislation would alter an existing Idaho code to offer what Brooks calls “a civil remedy” to public land access issues...

Read more here: https://www.idahostatesman.com/news/politics-government/state-politics/article226169600.html#storylink=cpy

Thursday, February 14, 2019

North Coast’s Great Redwood Trail would convert decaying railway into 320-mile pathway

PressDemocrat.com - Full Article

KEVIN FIXLER
THE PRESS DEMOCRAT | February 10, 2019

The first steps toward making a more than 300-mile walking and cycling trail from the San Francisco Bay to Humboldt Bay, crossing some of the North Coast’s most scenic, least-traveled landscapes are set to begin later this year.

Details such as when the Great Redwood Trail could be completed, how the most challenging stretches might be constructed and how much it all will cost remain big unknowns. But advocates of the ambitious plan to convert a decaying railway into a world-class pathway, potentially drawing tens of thousands of visitors to the region each year, say they’re confident it’s not a question of if it’ll happen, but when.

“Oh absolutely, absolutely. No question,” said Caryl Hart, the former head of Sonoma County Regional Parks. “Portions are already built in Willits and Ukiah, and quite a large portion in Humboldt Bay and Arcata is in the beginnings of development. It’s not like we have to find or buy the right of way — it already is there, and that is just such an advantage.”

The concept involves connecting blacktop in populated areas and segments of dirt trails in rural sections adjacent to deteriorating train tracks throughout five counties to offer a hiking, biking and horseback riding experience unlike any other. The meandering trek from Larkspur to beyond Eureka, which includes the remote, 50-mile Eel River Canyon north of Willits, would provide unencumbered, picturesque views few have laid eyes on before...

Read more here:
https://www.pressdemocrat.com/news/9258152-181/north-coasts-great-redwood-trail

Wednesday, February 13, 2019

Senate votes to extend key funding mechanism for parks

TheHill.com - Full Article

By Timothy Cama - 02/12/19

The Senate voted Tuesday to indefinitely extend the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF), a key funding mechanism for national and local parks.

The bipartisan renewal of the LWCF, which expired in October when Congress couldn’t come to an agreement on an extension, is the main pillar of a wide-ranging public lands bill the Senate voted to pass on Tuesday, 92-8.

The legislation is the first major public lands bill since 2014. In addition to the LWCF, it includes numerous national and locally tailored provisions related to federal land boundaries, recreation, sportsmen’s access to parks and more...

Read more here:
https://thehill.com/policy/energy-environment/429687-senate-votes-to-extend-key-funding-mechanism-for-parks

Wednesday, February 6, 2019

Legislation including mineral withdrawal north of Yellowstone, LWCF to get vote in U.S. Senate next week

BozemanDailyChronicle.com - Full Article

By Michael Wright Chronicle Staff Writer
Feb 1, 2019

Permanently banning new mining claims north of Yellowstone National Park and renewing a popular conservation fund are closer to reality, as the U.S. Senate plans to take up a broad lands bill including the two measures next week.

The bill, S. 47, contains a variety of public lands legislation across the country including two measures that have been important to the Montana congressional delegation — the Yellowstone Gateway Protection Act and the reauthorization of the Land and Water Conservation Fund.

Representatives from the offices of Montana’s two senators have told the Chronicle the bill will hit the Senate floor early next week for debate with a vote to follow soon after...

Read more here:
https://www.bozemandailychronicle.com/news/environment/legislation-including-mineral-withdrawal-north-of-yellowstone-lwcf-to-get/article_7b73a3b5-c071-5de1-a17d-e8181ea637fb.html#utm_source=bozemandailychronicle.com&utm_campaign=morning-headlines&utm_medium=email&utm_content=headline

Saturday, February 2, 2019

Georgia: Equestrian community behind trail development at Don Carter State Park

Lakesidenews.com - Full Article

By Jane Harrison

The rhythmic thud of hooves on soft earth, gentle rocking of the saddle, and view of woods and water from a higher perspective transport horseback riders to tranquility on trails. Recently opened equestrian trails at Don Carter State Park make it easier for local equestrians to embark on that journey on the shores of Lake Lanier.

Local equestrians praise the 12½ miles of trails on territory historically known as horse country for their lake views, serpentine courses, bridge crossings, and deep woods. But best of all, they enjoy their proximity to their own barns and pastures. “It’s easy to sneak away to Don Carter to ride for a couple of hours,” said Bobbie Byers, four-year president of the 80-member Chattahoochee Trail Horse Association (CTHA). The Cleveland resident mounts her palomino or chocolate-brown Tennessee Walking Horse on state park trails once or twice a week, weather and work permitting. “I feel very blessed they’re opened,” she said “They’re absolutely beautiful.”

David DeLozier agreed. It’s even easier for him to hit the trail from his North Browning Bridge Road property, where the park maintains a neighborhood access for the horseback riders living nearby. He and wife, Dixie, can saddle up their Paso Finos and ride right onto what he calls some of the prettiest trails in the state.

“Some are right on the lake, the views are great … I’ve ridden almost every trail in Georgia and I think these are some of the best views. Some are high with long views, others are down close to coves and creeks were we can get water for our horses,” he said.

The s-turns, tree canopy, multiple bridges and changing elevations give both horse and rider a fun outing on four main loops with connecting routes. It took “a long time” to get the trails open, DeLozier said, but the wait was worth it.

Decades before the park opened in 2013, riders from northern Hall County’s horse country along Clarks Bridge and North Browning Bridge roads hoofed it in “the Glades,” old logging roads and private paths near the lake’s headwaters on the Chattahoochee River.

Then, word came that the private property they rode as public domain was sold to develop a state park. Early on, Byers said, there was no plan for equestrian trails in the woods rich in local horse-riding history. “This was a huge black eye to the horse community that equestrians were left out of the park,” Byers said. “They’d been riding that area for I can’t tell you how long.”

CTHA galloped into action, forming a committee to confer with state park planners...

Read more here:
http://www.lakesidenews.com/equestrian-community-behind-trail-development-at-don-carter-state-park

Conserving Land for Equine Use

Equitrekking.com - full article

What would happen if horse trails ceased to exist, facilities to board your horse disappeared, and hayfields were replaced with shopping malls? Learn about Equine Land Conservation Resource, an organization working to ensure that land for equine use remains part of our communities.

by Jocelyn Pierce

The United Statesis steeped in equestrian heritage and tradition. Horses have been partners in work, warfare and sport, playing an integral part in American culture. From the working ranch cowboy to the American foxhunter; from rural bush racetracks to Belmont Park; from pulling war wagons to reaching for Olympic gold, from the carriage horse to the trail companion, the horse and human interaction has been widespread throughout our history.

As ourpopulation grows, cities and towns expand. In areas where growth is haphazard, it infringes heavily on rural farmland areas.Land previously available for horse facilities and farms moves further from population centers, making access for equine activities more difficult to get to. The US population, currently at approximately 328 billion (US Census) is expected to increase to well over 435 million by 2050 (Pew Research). Well-planned growth can forestall or alleviate sprawling development.

With growing population, there is greater competition for land to provide housing, recreation and agricultural activities. Equine communities need to get ahead of these issues at the local level to protect their access.

Competition over the use of public land between burgeoning user groupsincreases and directly threatens equine access to land used for recreation. Equine Land Conservation Resource(ELCR) champions land preservation for equine use and works to educate equestrians on the issues that threaten equine activities...

Read more here:
https://equitrekking.com/articles/entry/conserving-land-for-equine-use?mc_cid=471e9f0ae1&mc_eid=290b655fe3

Saturday, January 26, 2019

Discovering the North Country Trail

AmericanTrails.org - Full Article

Dedicated volunteers are working to improve and complete the trail that runs across seven northern states.


by Taylor Goodrich, Communication and Media Specialist, American Trails

It is fitting that in a year with so much history American Trails is gearing up to hold the next International Trails Symposium in one of the oldest states in the nation.

New York was, as we know, one of the thirteen original colonies, before America was even a country, and when all trails were equestrian trails. New York is also famous as a melting pot, and the place, more than any other, which has welcomed people from across the world to America’s doorstep, as millions made their way through Ellis Island to become part of our history.

We are proud to continue this tradition of welcoming those from across the globe to New York at our 2019 symposium, which will include scholarship students from all over the world. Of course, the biggest piece of history we will be celebrating at the upcoming symposium will be the National Trails System Act turning 50, and how that legislation has shaped our country’s trails since President Lyndon Johnson spoke these memorable words.

“The forgotten outdoorsmen of today are those who like to walk, hike, ride horseback, or bicycle. For them we must have trails as well as highways... Old and young alike can participate. Our doctors recommend and encourage such activity for fitness and fun...”

Read more here:
https://www.americantrails.org/blog/2018/discovering-the-north-country-trail

Friday, January 25, 2019

Border wall dispute and political dysfunction has snagged even popular programs

Washingtonpost.com - Full Article

By Joel Achenbach
January 24 at 7:40 PM

The Land and Water Conservation Fund enjoys bipartisan support in both houses of Congress. The fund helps pay for the conservation of things that most people like: parks, recreation areas, wildlife preserves, Civil War battlefields. The money comes from fees paid by oil and gas companies for offshore drilling rights.

But the fund’s legislative authorization expired nearly four months ago, at the end of the past fiscal year. Members of both houses of Congress managed to advance bills to reauthorize the fund permanently, but the legislative process can be glacial and the fund was still awaiting final passage when the border wall dispute reared up and put everything on hold.

Now, despite its popularity, the fund — known to supporters simply by its acronym, LWCF — is right where so much other legislation is: in shutdown purgatory...

Read more here:

Thursday, January 24, 2019

Equine Land Conservation Resource Announces New On-line Educational Resources

Lexington, Ky. – January 23, 2019 – Equine Land Conservation Resource (ELCR) is pleased to announce several new articles that are now available in our website library, covering a variety of topics that are of interest to individuals, horsemen and women, and communities as efforts are made to protect, create, enhance and maintain the lands, facilities and trails that are critical to all equine activities.

“A Look at Backyard Horsekeeping” looks at aspects of and regulations for keeping horses on small farms and residential properties. Zoning regulations and availability of equine services and supplies, assessing a property for horse-keeping and best management practices (BMPs) to employ are covered. The also article explores many of the backyard horse communities in the US, looking at the zoning, facilities and trails that help to support equestrian activities. https://elcr.org/a-look-at-backyard-horse-keeping/.

“Working with Parks for Equine Access – Master Plan” is in two parts. Part 1, “Master Plan”, describes the reasons for and process of creating a master plan for a municipal park, and the advocacy role that the equine community must play. Part 2, “Master Plan Illustrations” is a tour of equestrian-based master plans in communities around the US. Produced by experienced designers, community planners and parks personnel with public input, the illustrations look at master plans for equine centers and facilities. https://elcr.org/working-with-parks-for-equine-access-master-plan-part-1/ and https://elcr.org/working-with-parks-for-equine-access-master-plan-illustrations-part-2/

“Equine Land Advocacy – A Best Practice for Equine Access” explores the issues that arise to threaten the equestrian way of life, looking at opportunities to partner with local and state government agencies, conservancies, land trusts and other organizations to work toward resolving land, facility and trail issues in your local community with a positive outcome. https://elcr.org/equine-land-advocacy-a-best-practice-for-equine-access/

About the Equine Land Conservation Resource (ELCR): ELCR builds awareness of the loss of lands available for horse-related activities and facilitates the protection and conservation of those lands working to ensure America’s equine heritage lives on and the emotional, physical and economic benefits of the horse-human relationship remains accessible. ELCR serves as an information resource and clearinghouse on conserving horse properties, land use planning, land stewardship/best management practices, trails, liability and equine economic impact. For more information about the ELCR visit www.elcr.org or call (859) 455-8383.

Friday, January 11, 2019

Colorado: Fisher's Peak To Be Acquired By Conservation Groups, Enter Public Ownership

KROC.org - Full Article

By Abigail Beckman • Jan 10, 2019

Conservation groups are planning to buy a ranch near Trinidad that includes the landmark Fisher's Peak. The $25.5 million acquisition is expected to be completed by the end of February with a goal of eventually allowing public access to the land.

The purchase of Fisher's Peak Ranch, also known as Crazy French Ranch, was initiated by the city of Trinidad as a boost to its recreation economy. It's a move the Trust for Public Land and The Nature Conservancy say goes hand in hand with conservation. Both groups are involved in the acquisition, along with the Trinidad, Colorado Parks and Wildlife and Great Outdoors Colorado.

Wade Shelton with the Trust for Public Land said the ranch's upcoming change to public ownership will be a positive thing for the area...

Read more here:
http://www.krcc.org/post/fishers-peak-be-acquired-conservation-groups-enter-public-ownership

Monday, January 7, 2019

Murkowski aims to revive public lands bill, despite objection from lone senator

KTOO.org - Full Story

By Liz Ruskin, Alaska Public Media
January 2, 2019

One of Sen. Lisa Murkowski’s first priorities in the Congress that begins Thursday is to pass a 680-page public lands bill. It’s a compendium of wants and needs from Republicans and Democrats. Murkowski came within a hair’s breadth of passing it late last month, but she was thwarted by a single senator.

It’s a reminder of how hard it is to get a bill through the U.S. Senate, and how hard it can be to make adjustments to public lands, even if 99 senators are willing to see it pass.

“Mr. President, I would ask unanimous consent on behalf of Chairman (Orrin) Hatch that the Senate proceed to the immediate consideration of the lands package bill,” Murkowski said, pushing her bill just before the Christmas break. “Unanimous consent” is how most bills get to the floor, but it has one drawback: the unanimous part.

The public lands bill has become a December tradition. The heart of it is always a collection of hyper-local issues. One section of it might expand the borders of a refuge to include a donated ranch. Or, Murkowski said, it may deed land to a school.

“It’s pretty parochial,” she said. “These don’t come to the floor for debate and passage … It might not be a perfect process, but we bundle them up at the end of the year.”

As chair of the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources, Murkowski is largely responsible for compiling the bill and negotiating its passage. A major Alaska item in the latest version would have given Native veterans of the Vietnam War era another opportunity to select land for a personal allotment.

The bill also had several nationwide measures, including a really big one: It would make the Land and Water Conservation Fund permanent. The fund, which expired in October, allowed the federal government to preserve land and improve parks and recreation areas using revenue from offshore drilling. It also sent piles of money to the states. It’s been popular on the left and the right for decades. But not everyone likes it...

Read more here:
https://www.ktoo.org/2019/01/02/murkowski-aims-to-revive-public-lands-bill-despite-objection-from-lone-senator/