Utah sportsmen ask for roadless protection to preserve hunting and fishing in the Beehive State

Wed, 12/06/2006

Utah sportsmen ask for roadless protection to preserve hunting and fishing in the Beehive State

Dec. 5, 2006

Chris Hunt (208) 406-9106, chunt@tu.org
Bill Geer (406) 396-0909, bgeer@trcp.org

Telephone press conference Thursday, Dec. 7, 1:30 p.m.
To participate, call: (866) 740-1260. Pass code is: 406-9106      

New research: Quality hunting and fishing depend on roadless land in Utah

SALT LAKE CITY— A host of Utah anglers, hunters and wildlife biologists will speak via teleconference to the Utah press on Thursday, Dec.  7, at 1:30 p.m., to discuss research conducted by the Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership and Trout Unlimited that reveals a direct connection between hunting and fishing success in Utah and the presence of unspoiled backcountry in the Beehive State.

“This research proves what most good hunters and fishermen have always known,” said Bill Geer of TRCP and the former director of the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources. “Hunting and fishing are better where fish and game habitat remain intact. Deer and elk herds are healthiest in the state’s roadless backcountry, and wild and native trout populations are most robust in roadless watersheds.”

The research, available at www.tu.org, notes the importance of hunting and fishing both to Utah’s heritage and to its present-day economy. Additionally, it highlights important data that shows critical links between habitat and fish and game populations. For example, the research shows that 80 percent of Utah’s 4 million acres of roadless backcountry is critical habitat for elk and that nearly every stream in the state that supports self-sustaining populations of Bonneville cutthroat trout either flows through or from roadless land.

“These are things that need to be taken into account as Gov. Huntsman considers the implications of asking for changes to roadless area management in Utah in the coming weeks,” said Chris Thomas, president of the Utah Council of Trout Unlimited. “There’s been a lot of talk about opening our roadless backcountry to development and increased motorized use. However, this data clearly shows that would be a big mistake and one that Utah hunters and anglers would regret for generations to come.”

Geer and Thomas will be joined by: 
• Dwight Bunnell, retired chief of game management for the Utah Division of Wildlife Management.
• William Burbridge, retired director of wildlife and fisheries at the U.S. Forest Service
• Dale Hepworth, retired regional fisheries manager at UDWR
• Steve Schmidt, owner of Western River Fly Fishers in Salt Lake City.

Reporters wishing to participate should call: (866) 740-1260 on Thursday, Dec. 7. When prompted, enter the pass code: 406-9106. The press conference will begin at 1:30 p.m., sharp.



Date: 12/7/2006


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