Parks, wildlife refuges, national forests closed due to failure to pass a budget-
(This story has the shutdown rules for 4 land management agencies)

There was no last minute deal for a temporary budget extension passed at midnight. The federal government will now partially shut down. “Essential services” will continue without a budget. However, the public lands will be shuttered to public access wherever feasible. Personnel to protect the resources of these lands are deemed essential and will stay at work. Visitors will be given 48 hours to leave the national parks.

The cause of the shutdown is the attempt to defund the Affordable Care Act (ACA) by holding up the rest of the budget until supporters of the ACA give in.  House Republicans are nearly unanimous in pursuing this strategy and Senate Democrats  unanimous in opposing it. Were the Democrats not so opposed, the President said he would veto any attempt to block, defund, or do-away with the Affordable Care Act.

The next fiscal year for the U.S. government began Oct. 1. Congress is supposed to have passed all the appropriations bills by Oct. 1. In practice this doesn’t often happen. To avoid a shutdown, Congress routinely passes one or more temporary continuing resolutions (CRs) of the old budget. Then it continues to work on appropriations until they are complete.

This year an unprecedented strategy is being tried by the House Republicans. They are attempting to repeal a bill they hate, not by gaining a majority to repeal it, but by holding almost everything else up until supporters of the ACA and/or opponents of the GOP strategy fold. Critics of the Republican plan call it “hostage taking.” It does conform to the logic of hostage taking. Ironically, much of the ACA is not subject to annual appropriations! It is not part of the budget Republicans are holding up. In fact, nationwide signup for ACA insurance begins today, Oct. 1 with much fanfare from its supporters.

Obviously closures of the public lands will be more effective at chokepoints. These are more common in national parks and national wildlife refuges than national forests or BLM administered lands. National park and forest closures will have economic consequences to nearby communities. In addition to closures, the public employees will not be paid. While some proponents of a shutdown have dismissed this as “no big deal if the Washington Monument is closed,” many understand that the public lands are a substantial portion of the Western United States.

In addition to closures to the public, permits for various public land activities will not be issued during the shutdown. For example, the Bureau of Land Management will not be able to process new oil and gas permits.

Here is the complete introduction to the BLM’s shutdown rules. The rules for other agencies night be found on-line.

General: In the event that Congress is unable to enact appropriations for FY 2014 or a continuing resolution, essentially all activities of the BLM will be halted with the exception of law enforcement and emergency response functions. Without appropriated funds, there is no authority to incur obligations, including obligations for salaries, except in situations involving orderly shutdown of the bureau or to protect life and property. In the event that a shutdown
occurs, the Department will notify bureaus to begin an orderly shutdown of unfunded functions. This will require the furlough of a majority of BLM employees. Voluntary services from employees will not be accepted. [emphasis ours]

The last government shutdown took place Nov. 14-19, 1995 and Dec. 16-Jan. 6, 1996. It was President Clinton versus the Republican congress. Eventually the President won after public opinion turned on the Republicans, especially Republican Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich.

It is an open question how much anarchy will prevail on the public lands. During the 1995-6 shutdown, the Western Watersheds Project has learned that in some areas cattle operators immediately turned their livestock out on public lands for an illegal helping of public forage.

While the shutdown will have a growing effect as time passes, even more consequential is the possible strategic default on national debt payments that might take place on or before Oct. 17 if the debt limit is not raised by Congress. That too is being held as bargaining collateral (or extortion) depending on one’s view.  A deft default may stop social security and medicare payments, cripple the military, but will stop Obamacare.

This general strategy has never been tried before in the United States. By definition it is rule by a minority and so undemocratic.

– – – – – –

Here are some agency shutdown plans.

U.S. National Park Service.
U.S. Forest Service
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
U.S. Bureau of Land Management


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About The Author

Ralph Maughan

Dr. Ralph Maughan is professor emeritus of political science at Idaho State University. He was a Western Watersheds Project Board Member off and on for many years, and was also its President for several years. For a long time he produced Ralph Maughan's Wolf Report. He was a founder of the Greater Yellowstone Coalition. He and Jackie Johnson Maughan wrote three editions of "Hiking Idaho." He also wrote "Beyond the Tetons" and "Backpacking Wyoming's Teton and Washakie Wilderness." He created and is the administrator of The Wildlife News.

112 Responses to The government is now shut. Public lands are generally closed to the public

  1. Barb Rupers says:

    The shutdown in Dec. 16-Jan. 6, 1996 interfered with but did not stop the Audubon Christmas Bird Count in the circle that included Basket Slough National Wildlife Refuge as there are two public roads that go through it. The headquarters and personnel were not available.

  2. Ralph Maughan says:

    Since this topic is potentially very divisive, don’t comment unless you have a substantive comment. Barb Rupers, the first comment, has factual content.


  3. Ralph Maughan says:

    We have updated the story with the shutdown text for the 4 land management agencies.

  4. Ralph Maughan says:

    The shutdown is now being implemented. An interesting question is whether there will be anarchy on the public lands?

    For example will the oil companies try to run U.S. Highway 12 with megaloads while the Forest Service is furloughed?

    • Ida Lupine says:

      The sad part is they won’t even let workers volunteer. What a sad state of affairs.

    • Steven says:

      There is currently not any megaloads at the port so you don’t have to worry about that.

  5. topher says:

    I tried the forest service link and it says it’s shut down. Does anyone know if the forest service will be closing access by closing gates?

  6. JB says:

    I hope this counts as a substantive comment, but am happy to let Ralph decide. I believe that much of the support for shutting the government down comes from people who take for granted the services that the government provides (remember the sign that read: “keep your government hands off my Medicare”). Given the discourse, it seems some reflection on the achievements of the federal government is in order. Here are a few things (just a few) that government has done for our society:
    (1) Eradicated horrific diseases (e.g., polio) (NIH)
    (2) Helped win WWII (DOD, Military)
    (3) Created the first and best system of National Parks (NPS)
    (4) Cleaned the nation’s supply of freshwater via (Clean Water Act)
    (5) Cleaned the air (Clean Air Act)
    (6) Created an interstate highway system for promoting commerce and recreation (DOT)
    (7) Created a system of refuges for conserving migratory birds and hunting opportunities (DOI, FWS)
    (8) Dramatically reduced the rate of poverty among the elderly via Social Security and Medicare
    (9) Increased food and drug safety with testing and inspection (USDA, FDA)
    (10) Promoted a science-based understanding of our world via funding for research (NSF, NIH)

    Here’s a great article that I hope folks will share:

  7. Holli says:

    Shame on you Ralph for trying to spin this, the percentage of public lands that will be “CLOSED” are probably less than 5%. You make it sound like you can’t go and enjoy a hike, or recreate on BLM or Forest ground. Oh wait let me add the hysteria, hunting seasons all over the states closed due to government shut down. Shame on you you know better.

    • Ken Cole says:

      That may be the case but that 5% probably receives 95% of the use by the public.

    • Ken Cole says:

      Idaho Fish and Game
      Media Advisory

      For Immediate Release

      Federal Government Shutdown Effects on Outdoor Recreation

      Idaho Department of Fish and Game advises Idaho hunters, anglers, trappers, and wildlife watchers of the following information about federal land closures related to the federal government shutdown. The Idaho Fish and Game is not authorized to enforce these federal closures. Idaho Fish and Game does not have information beyond that provided by federal press releases and through the website.

      Fish and Wildlife Service: National Wildlife Refuge lands and facilities are closed to public access as are federal hatcheries.

      Bureau of Land Management: Non-developed BLM lands with no controlled access will remain open. Campgrounds, boat ramps, visitor centers and other developed recreation sites will be closed or posted as closed in areas where public access cannot practically be restricted. BLM is giving campground occupants 48 hours to vacate, with the area shut down as the last visitor leaves.

      U.S. Forest Service: Non-developed lands without controlled access will remain open. Developed facilities are closed. Fire suppression, law enforcement and other activities essential to protect life and property will continue.

      National Park Service: All national parks and NPS-managed lands are closed, with all park entrances closed and secured. While the national parks are closed, roads that serve as thruways will remain open. The Park Service is giving campground and lodging occupants 48 hours to vacate the premises.

      U.S. Bureau of Reclamation: Recreation areas located on Reclamation land and water bodies may be directly managed by Reclamation, by another Federal agency, or by a non-Federal managing partner. Recreation areas managed directly by Reclamation, and which are funded through appropriations, will be closed and may include areas at American Falls, Black Canyon Reservoir, Little Wood Reservoir and Warm Springs Reservoir. Those which are not funded by appropriations will remain open. Decisions on whether areas managed by another Federal partner will remain open will be made by each Federal managing partner. Those recreation areas managed by a non-Federal partner will remain open at the discretion of the partner. To determine the status of any Bureau of Reclamation recreation area, please contact the local recreation area.

  8. snaildarter says:

    All public lands should be closed to people, the extraction industries and livestock. All Americans should suffer through this suffer equally. The tea-party needs a reality check. They are not doing the middle class any favors.

    • Leroy says:

      Woah now hold on. Doesn’t that seem a bit hypocritical? Why would you want ALL Americans to suffer for because of the actions of a select few? Regardless of your political affiliation, it’s asinine to wish suffering on your fellow Americans.

      If anything, justice here would be that Congress doesn’t get their paycheck, and those hard-working USFS Agents and park rangers would continue doing what they love while sharing OUR public lands with fellow Americans. I don’t understand your assertion here – the only people that ARE suffering right now are those employees and people like me who enjoy using these public lands.

      Besides, anyone trying to do anything illegal (i.e. roaming cattle) on federal lands will probably be caught and fined. Since law enforcement will still be operating, and the general public will not be around, anyone on federal lands will probably be caught very quickly.

  9. Slick says:

    How will this effect public hunting ? Will the hunt still go on?

  10. terri says:

    I can tell you I got booted out of Mesa Verde today by some very nice park rangers. We had 48 hours to leave the lodge or campsite, but the park itself was closed immediately.

    The economic impact has to be tremendous, because well over half of the people there were Europeans in rented RVs…so this impacts RV rentals, gas stations, restaurants, etc.
    As with most things, the unintended consequences of this reach far and wide, impacting those who only want to live life peacefully.

    I’m now trying to find places to camp that are open, but I have the resources to go to a hotel if needed. Those most impacted are the hourly workers in the parks and other facilities.

    I long for the days when those in leadership acted like leaders and were willing to work things out like adults.

  11. Louise Kane says:

    Thank you for the information Ralph

    • Kathleen says:

      On our local news tonight, a foreign visitor to Glacier was interviewed at the blockaded entrance. “You don’t want me here,” he said; “I will go to Canada.” A busload of senior citizens was turned away; one who was clearly disappointed said how they all look forward to these tours; another said “I’m 75, this is probably the only time I’ll get here.”

  12. Jeff says:

    The District Ranger for the Bridger Teton National Forest said offices will be closed but “we’ll make no efforts to close the National Forest to the public”

  13. Scott says:

    No USFS land or BLM will be closed off to the public. Gates that are supposed to be closed will stay closed but no additional closures will happen. Worst part is all the areas under closure orders from the wildfires will have reduced patrols. That means all the people that go into the closure area thinking they know everything and will be fine will be at risk. They just rescued a family stuck behind a mudslide within the Trinity Ridge Fire from last year and its much more dangerous inside the Elk Fire area. Several large mudslides have occurred and hazard trees have been cleaned up on 10 percent of the roads.

  14. Rich says:

    Cronan Ranch, a BLM controlled land area (near Pilot Hill, CA) that was donated to ‘the people’, is Chained and Locked with a sign that this is due to gov.t shutdown. It’s our land. Don’t hold it hostage.
    If the Gov’t can’t manage it that’s no excuse to lock us out.
    This is the people being punished because we elected officials who don’t serve us.

  15. Wolfy says:

    A closure of some public lands is bad enough. Hopefully it will be short. However, I am more fearful of the new federal budget will bring (when they pass one, of course.) Draconian cuts to are sure to happen in the face of a debt-default crisis. Environmental protection, public lands management, and recreation are low hanging fruit when compared to social programs like social security, WIC, and Medicare. With at least five percent cuts every year for the last 12 years, most offices are now at skeleton staffs and budgets. The new federal budget will very likely send many offices over the edge. Basic services like trash pick-up, restroom cleaning, interpretation, and campground maintenance will likely end or be severely reduced. Many public land units may look like the government just walked away. I’ve seen in the past where Forest Service campgrounds were stripped of all their facilities and the gates locked. I’ve seen other recreation sites where the Feds just simply took down their signs and walked away. Again, a shutdown is bad enough, but congress’s new deal with the devil will be real bad for the public on many fronts.

    • Ida Lupine says:

      Yes. That’s how the wolf got delisted during the first shutdown threat, and horse slaughterhouses trying to make a dreadful comeback.

  16. Chris Harbin says:

    I wonder what the National Park Concessionaires,like Xanterra at Grand Canyon will do with their employees. Most of the people that work and live there do not have other options in regards to employment or housing. Moreover, it is hard to tell how long the shutdown will last. Some of the bigger National Parks like Yellowstone and Grand Canyon are in remote areas and employ thousands of people. Anybody have a clue what is happening in this respect?

  17. Salle says:

    They’re at it again while they think nobody’s watching…

    National Parks Remain Closed, Yet House Republicans Move To Sell Off 3.3 Million Acres Of Public Lands

    • Ida Lupine says:

      I can’t understand this anti-Keystone pipeline business. No, it isn’t good – but with 50% of all new cars being SUVs and pickups, and I’m sure used cars are pretty high up there too – what are they all going to run on, good thoughts? There’s no environmentally safe way to transport oil, and a pipeline is the most relatively safe. The US is going to be a net exporter of oil and natural gas if it isn’t already? It makes no sense to protest when we haven’t made the drastic social change necessary to move to clean, environmentally sound energy sources. We’ve got a long way to go, and the green alternatives are following the oil and gas business model of profits first, environment not at all. They’re not very impressive.

        • Ida Lupine says:

          I wonder if it simply is due to the bad economy and gas prices. Or people living in cities where they don’t need to have a car and can use public transportation. Now it is the ‘millennials’ we are putting our hopes for the future on.

          • Ida Lupine says:

            I don’t mean to sound negative, but I try to be a realist. It’s going to take a hell of a lot of driving less to make a dent in the world’s oil usage, and even if we in the US do, the fact remains that we are still net exporters of oil and gas to other countries who won’t be driving less but driving more as their ecomomics improve, and on the other hand we want this for the world’s impoverished, to move up in the world and have a better standard of living. And asd as the population continues to grow… Being overly optimistic sometimes leads to a false sense of security.

  18. Salle says:

    Ruh Roh…

    This could get interesting…

    Tourist trap

    The federal government shutdown and winter weather have forced the closure of all roads connecting Cooke City to the rest of the world and turned the gateway town into a literal tourist trap.

    “We’re trapped,” said Bill Anderson, of Wichita, Kan., one of about 15 tourists in Cooke City. “It’s nuts.”

  19. Louise Kane says:

    RE govt shut down
    drilling and extractive industries still going
    here is something from Grijalva. every stand I see him make speaks to what a mistake Jewell was. what a lost opportunity. I find it hard to forgive Obama for his lack of interest in natural resources, willingness to scavenge them to extractive industries, and deference to the status quo on treatment of wildlife and wilderness. Jewell seems to follow suit in her first semester. an F in my opinion.

    The email below is from Congressman Raul Grijalva, a progressive champion in Tucson, Arizona. Congressman Grijalva started a petition on CREDO Mobilize, where activists can launch their own campaigns for progressive change. We strongly urge you to sign Congressman Grijalva’s petition and help him build pressure on the Obama administration to stop allowing mining and drilling on public lands during the government shutdown.

    No drilling or mining on public lands while visitors are locked out.

    Dear Louise,

    Our federal lands are being mined, drilled, logged and just about everything else you can name – but because of the Republicans’ reckless and irresponsible shutdown of the federal government, we can’t be there to hike or camp, and our park rangers can’t be there to respond to emergencies.

    We need to get our priorities straight. That’s why I started my own campaign on, which allows activists to start their own petitions. My petition, which is to Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell and Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack, says the following:

    Stop allowing mining, drilling and other dirty energy extraction activities on federally protected lands while visitors are locked out and employees are home without pay.

    Tell Secretary Jewell and Secretary Vilsack: If Americans can’t use public lands during the government shutdown, fossil fuel companies shouldn’t either.

    I just met a furloughed National Park Service employee the other day on my way to the Capitol. He told me he knows there are bigger issues at stake than his paycheck, and he wants us to stand up for our public lands and our democracy instead of giving away the store. I’m asking you to tell Secretary Jewell and Secretary Vilsack the same.

    There are about 800,000 furloughed federal employees all over the country. National Park Service, Bureau of Land Management, Fish and Wildlife Service and other land management experts are at home instead of tending to trails, eliminating invasive species and protecting our wild lands from pollution. While they wait for the shutdown to end, mining, drilling and logging are going ahead.

    Fossil fuel and logging companies shouldn’t have special access to our federal lands while rangers, hikers and the rest of us are locked out.

    Sign my petition to Sally Jewell and Tom Vilsack today to say we expect the same treatment as mining and logging companies when it comes to public lands and resources that we, as Americans, own and protect for the future.

    Will you join me and add your name to my petition to demand the federal government stop allowing mining and drilling on public lands during the government shutdown?

    Thank you for your support.

    Congressman Raul Grijalva

    • Ida Lupine says:

      RE govt shut down
      drilling and extractive industries still going
      here is something from Grijalva. every stand I see him make speaks to what a mistake Jewell was. what a lost opportunity. I find it hard to forgive Obama for his lack of interest in natural resources, willingness to scavenge them to extractive industries, and deference to the status quo on treatment of wildlife and wilderness. Jewell seems to follow suit in her first semester. an F in my opinion.

      This was my greatest fear, and what do you know, it’s what happened. Where is she? What is she doing? It really is dismaying that the environment and conservation doesn’t even rate for this Administration. Have we ever heard him say one world about wildlife conservation ever? And that because Sally Jewell is an outdoorsperson, that that automatically makes her an environmentalist in the Administration’s, and the general public’s, eyes.

      But there are some places due to forward thinking people that came before us, where wildlife will never be harmed, and the riff-raff kept out.

  20. Leslie says:

    Utah declares a state of emergency because of govt. shutdown affecting their economy. The sudden revelation of UT’s dependence on federal lands tourism is quite ironic.

  21. Nancy says:

    “The Madison Motel has been through a lot – the Great Depression, the earthquake of 1959 and the devastating fires of 1988. But, the owners say, even the fires were better than this”

    • Immer Treue says:

      I like this comment from said article.

      I almost ENVY future history students reading and studying about the great GOP MANUFACTURED crisis of 2013 and how it destroyed a recovering economy and threw hard working Americans back into the deep economic hole just they were just beginning to climb out of the economic hole they were already tossed so callously into.”

      Something else the con-servatives can wail about in the future as they have: we don’t want to hear about what “W” did in regard to the Mideast, or how Obama inherited a shitbed in regard to the nations big recession.

      These dirt bags thrive on lies and deception, and once folks are at wits end continue to drive the stake into the heart of this country by dividing and conquering. Since the Great Recession began, who came under attack? Not the folks who caused it, but those who work for the people. Teachers, fire fighters, law enforcement, postal workers, and all “civil servants.” No longer the mantra of who would be fool enough to want those jobs, but the drone of attacking the benefits that went with those jobs.

      The GOP has some unintended tax cuts from the folks they have driven from the work place.

  22. Ida Lupine says:

    I hadn’t realized that our ‘stealth’ Secretary of the Interior had been up to lately. While everyone’s attention is on the circus in DC, I hope another fast one isn’t being put over on us behind the scenes:

    Expansion of Hunting and Fishing Proposed in National Wildlife Refuges

    I thought a refuge was just that – a refuge for wildlife?

    • Ida Lupine says:

      LOL I had to smile at one of the comments:

      “What’s next, poaching at the petting zoo?”

    • Nancy says:

      Ida – a list of the refuges now open to hunting across the country:

      “Jewell told the Indianapolis Star that REI didn’t carry hunting equipment — i.e., guns — simply because they didn’t know that much about it and they like to be experts in everything they sell”

      • Ida Lupine says:

        Oh boy. Why is she involved in making policy then? I don’t know who is worse – Ken Salazar or Sally Jewell – they both are terrible choices in their own ways.

    • JB says:


      You should read about the history of the refuge system before passing judgment. While the refuge system was put in place predominantly to conserve nesting habitat for birds, they are managed for six wildlife-related recreational uses (i.e., hunting, fishing, birding, photography, environmental education, and interpretation). Unlike National Parks and Forests, refuges have generally chosen to minimize human uses by limiting roads, trails and other hardened surfaces, and they are often closed completely to human use during the nesting season. Remember, hunting seasons in most states are generally quite short, so the rest of the year the wildlife their are free for people to observe.
      You might also want to consider that much of the funding for refuges came specifically from migratory bird hunters (via the Migratory Bird Hunting and Conservation Stamp Act).

      Comparing regulated hunting of wild animals whose habitat exists (in part) because of hunters to ‘poaching at petting zoos’ is patently unfair.

      • Nancy says:

        JB – I know we covered this not long ago but are there not enough of these “refuges” open to hunting, that even more have to opened up? There’s seems to be growing evidence that wildlife viewing is more beneficial to the communities surrounding many refuges:

        • Ida Lupine says:

          The other question I have – is it a good idea to be introducing lead shot, or more of it, into bird and wildlife sanctuaries with more and more evidence coming in that it is harmful?

          • SaveBears says:

            If I remember correctly, Lead Shot has been banned on the refuges for hunting birds.

        • Louise Kane says:

          yes indeed aren’t there enough refuges where wildlife can be killed already? Refuge what a bizarre place to use when you allow people to chase down and kill the inhabitants. Jewell is a real disappointment

      • Ida Lupine says:

        I realize the history of conservation, but let’s not muddy the waters here – why do we need to expand/open more (and more and more) of them to hunting when the majority of people are wildlife viewers? There are too many people and not enough wildlife, and killing animals off is only one of the reasons wildlife is in decline because of human activities. Only hunting laws sail through unchallenged in Washington these days. Why is that? It’s not that far off the mark, because native wildlife is becoming habituated to human presence (how could it not when we dominate the landscape?)

        • Ida Lupine says:

          and they are often closed completely to human use during the nesting season.

          Really? Well, that makes me feel so much better (not). I’ve seen how many get indignant when signs are posted that would dare limit their freedom to tramp all over nesting areas with their dogs in tow, or gawk, and they do it anyway without someone there to discourage them. They should not be there at all during nesting season.

      • Ida Lupine says:

        It would appear that it was done only for hunting, and in order to hunt, you have to preserve the habitat. It wasn’t done purely for wildlife.

        At any rate, many of today’s hunters bear little resemblance to the ones of history.

        • Immer Treue says:


          If I can chime in, SB has already called attention to it, but I’m willing to bet that our ancestors, with cruder/heavier weapons used everything they could possibly do to stack odds in their favor for hunting, and probably did it year round.

          That last point, which is no longer allowed, I’d venture to guess, along with logging and farming is one of the reasons we have an over abundance of white tail deer.

          • Ida Lupine says:

            Yes, but the thing is, we are supposed to have progressed since then. Today, we have better weapons that make hunting a lot easier and less sportsmanlike and require much less physical exertion (read lazy, and people who wouldn’t be physically able to hunt can do so today such as handicapped sitting behind a computer screen and canned hunting, and psychos), along with a much, much larger population. People relied much more on hunting for food – today we do not rely on it at all. We do it for trophies, fun(?), and because we want to eat game, not because we have to. Birds with shot in them are gross, from what I’ve heard.

            Yes, most places have an overabundance of white-tailed deer because we’ve eliminated the predator/prey balance. Proponents of more hunting always use deer as an example. However, other animals and birds would be subject to hunting as well, and I don’t know if we have an overabundance of them.

            • SaveBears says:

              Most animals that used as food have strong and growing populations. I hunt because the meat is healthier and far less expensive for my family. Also I don’t take the easier route, using a longbow and wood arrows is not easy.

              • Ida Lupine says:

                SB I will have to say that you seem be an exception, and for someone whose ideas are sometimes polar opposite to mine in many cases, you are a man of principle and I respect that in a person, even if I don’t always agree with them.

              • SaveBears says:

                Ida, one problem is most on here are always looking for the bad, when in truth there are a lot of hunters like me, we just don’t make waves that generate headlines.

              • Nancy says:

                “I hunt because the meat is healthier and far less expensive for my family”

                An interesting but dated article SB. Good comments below the article (especially from Factcheck Review Center) who perhaps might just be one of those lunatic vegans on the loose, with an agenda?:) or someone who’s done a bit a research when it comes to eating any kind of meat:


                And yes Erik summed it up quite nicely at the bottom of the comments with the Howard Hughe’s reference but failed the test (in my mind) by NOT following up with his claims to “debunk” paranoid boy’s claims. Nice though that he gave a nod and then a “shout out” to those good buddies out there still using lead bullets 🙂 Duh??

      • JB says:

        Forget it, Ida. It’s clear you’re not interested in learning anything–you’ve already made up your mind.

        Nancy–If the majority of use is wildlife watchers and hunting participation is on the decrease, then why not open more refuges to hunting? After all, with fewer hunters there should be less of an impact, right?

        • JB says:

          FYI: From the National Wildlife Refuge System Improvement Act (1997)

          “‘(4) In administering the System, the Secretary shall–

          ‘(A) provide for the conservation of fish, wildlife, and plants, and their habitats within the System;

          ‘(B) ensure that the biological integrity, diversity, and environmental health of the System are maintained for the benefit of present and future generations of Americans;

          ‘(H) recognize compatible wildlife-dependent recreational uses as the priority general public uses of the System through which the American public can develop an appreciation for fish and wildlife;

          ‘(I) ensure that opportunities are provided within the System for compatible wildlife-dependent recreational uses;

          ‘(J) ensure that priority general public uses of the System receive enhanced consideration over other general public uses in planning and management within the System;

          ‘(K) provide increased opportunities for families to experience compatible wildlife-dependent recreation, particularly opportunities for parents and their children to safely engage in traditional outdoor activities, such as fishing and hunting;


          • Ida Lupine says:

            (J) ensure that priority general public uses of the System receive enhanced consideration over other general public uses in planning and management within the System;

            They’ve certainly addressed this one. We’re still waiting for A and B.

            • SaveBears says:


              Points A and B have been fully addressed in the refuge system and is probably more successful on the national refuges, than anywhere else.

              • SaveBears says:

                To add, I don’t know what goes on in your area, but out west any refuge I visit has nice environments, an abundance of wildlife, etc..

            • JB says:

              Are you? Have you ever been to a wildlife refuge? Last time I had the time to shoot in a wildlife refuge, I made this image:

              Note, this was during hunting season and the coyote was generally unafraid of me…in Alaska.

              Yeah, we’re still waiting for A & B (sarc).

              • Louise Kane says:

                I think what Ida is getting at and the point that Nancy and I are making is very simple, why does hunting need to be expanded in refuges? Can’t some places just be set aside as refuges so that wildlife get to live without being subjected to killing by humans with rifles or bows and arrows. and by the way JB those are some spectacular images. That’s a talent I can respect. The subjects are so beautiful. Humans don’t have the right to kill animals for sport and they kill too many using the BS excuse that its “management”. wonderful images and thank you for sharing.

            • ma'iingan says:

              “We’re still waiting for A and B.”

              How ignorant. Get away from your computer and visit a USFWS refuge and learn something.

              • Ida Lupine says:

                Why don’t you Fish and Wildlife hacks grow a pair and do your job instead of making excuses.

              • SaveBears says:

                What the HELL are you talking about Ida? Why don’t you get off your ass and get in the field and do something to further your cause, instead of spending so much time on an internet website.

                Talk about an explosive bit of bullshit!

                Wildlife hacks are why we have what we do now!

              • SaveBears says:

                The wildlife refuge system was set up and is run for multiple use and has been VERY successful and fulfilling its mission, as I said, probably more so, than any National Park, Wilderness area Recreational Area, etc.

                It is time you learn instead of condemn at every turn Ida!

              • Ida Lupine says:

                I’ll stay on the internet as often as I want – you have no idea what I have done, or what I do, or what knowledge I have. If the moderators have a problem with me and my comments, I’ll listen to them, and no one else. Meanwhile, I’ll continue to comment, and if any one of you don’t like it, well…let’s just say too bad.

              • Ida Lupine says:

                Tell me, how does planting genetically modified crops in the refuges fit in with these objectives? The courts have stopped most of it, and not only stopped it but ordered the plants destroyed, so obviously they don’t think the department is successful in doing its job in every respect.

              • SaveBears says:

                Who the hell is talking about GMO? I thought we were talking about wildlife and the purpose of the wildlife refuge system, which is a very successful program.

                You are off on a tangent Ida, You are not drinking tonight are you?

              • SaveBears says:

                And based on the conversations we have on this blog alone Ida, unfortunately, I do believe I have a pretty good idea of what you have done….

              • SaveBears says:

                What disappointing, is, despite our differences, I felt we could have a conversation and even disagree and still respect each other, in fact you stated that today, but with your “Wildlife Hack” statement, you have shown you are just another internet cruising wildlife extremist that has no real handle on what is going on. In a time when many wildlife species are flourishing and growing by leaps and bounds, you continue to talk about diminishing populations.

                Sad, very sad.

              • Ida Lupine says:

                I’m talking about it. I posted something about it yesterday, along with the expanded hunting proposal info. It’s not a tangent; it all chips away at A & B, which I assume are A & B for a reason, because they are the prime objectives of creating a wildlife refuge. But with this administration, it’s no longer about wildlife.

              • SaveBears says:

                Good night Ida, I hope you relish in your imagined world.

              • Ida Lupine says:

                No SB, I don’t need any ‘substances’, I’m this way naturally. 🙂

              • SaveBears says:

                The refuge system was created long before this administration and has expanded opportunities for many different groups through out the history of the system, you really need to read up on the system before you comment on something you have little knowledge of.

              • SaveBears says:

                This administration has never had any wildlife issue on its mind, not from day one, Obama was not Hope and Change, it was do it my way or hit the highway, I stated this from the first day he came on the scene and he has done NOTHING but push his power hungry agenda since he took office.

                Obama does not even know what wildlife is, unless we are talking about the thugs on the south side of Chicago, many put their dreams in a inexperienced politician, who still has not matured.

        • Louise Kane says:

          JB that’s pretzel logic. If there is no hunting impact to start with because there is no hunting in a closed area than adding/allowing hunting or opening to hunting would obviously create a greater impact. You can do better than that!

          Its not hard to guess what I think about that proposal. It stinks

          • SaveBears says:

            It stinks, because you have very little knowledge of how the system was set up, why it was set up and how it is administered, as I said, the refuge system is one of the most successful and well run wildlife and wildland systems in the United States.

          • JB says:


            Let’s dissect this a bit further, so we can understand the source of our disagreement. I said:

            “If the majority of use is wildlife watchers and hunting participation is on the decrease, then why not open more refuges to hunting? After all, with fewer hunters there should be less of an impact, right?”

            I think it’s pretty clear by this statement that I was speaking to the impact of hunting nationally, not hunting in any single locale.

            Nevertheless, let’s take your assertion head on. First, it simply isn’t true that most wildlife refuges were not open to hunting before; rather, most of the ~560 refuges are already open (the actual proposal references opening 6 new refuges to hunting and expanding existing opportunity in 20 others)–so less than 5% of the refuge system is being opened.

            Now recall that the focus of wildlife refuges has been about nesting habitat for migratory birds–particularly, migratory waterfowl that were once greatly impacted by the conversion of wetlands to agricultural lands. Much of the of the hunting that occurs there is for waterfowl hunting. Now consider that (a) waterfowl hunting is among the fastest decreasing hunting activities in the US, and (b) because of the fact that they migrate long distances, most legally hunted types of waterfowl are already subject to hunting pressure–meaning that closing an area to hunting does not protect migratory waterfowl absolutely.

            This is why I started by writing that Ida should learn about the history and function of wildlife refuges before passing judgment on the proposal. You ‘hunting skeptics’ lose considerable credibility when you make these types of statements–they basically suggest to any hunters that are paying attention that you don’t understand what you’re talking about, and allow for the summary dismissal of your opinions. If you want to be taken seriously as a hunting skeptic, you’re going to have to do better.

            • Ida Lupine says:

              I don’t know JB, I don’t think we have to be experts in the history of wildlife refuges to realize that in our modern world, exposing birds to more pressure isn’t a good idea – we’ve already got loss of habitat, tall buildings, power lines, domestic cats, the wind industry, and the Obama administration chipping away at the ESA and the Migratory Bird Act. So, a little bit here, a little bit there, and soon there is a lot of protections lost. No, it isn’t absolute protection that they have now, but that doesn’t mean that it is ok to reduce it further? I don’t follow that line of reasoning.

              You’re also making a baseless accusation that some of us don’t know the history of wildlife refuges to discredit arguments right away unfairly.

              I’ve also never said that hunting doesn’t contribute to conservation, in fact, I do support it for that reason only. I just don’t think they are the saviours of conservation they are being made out to be. But decent hunters, not gun nuts and fools out in the woods who just want to kill stuff.

              Some just don’t want to admit that there are people out there who don’t deserve to be in the public lands (marking them up with graffiti, starting illegal fires, harassing wildlife, etc.), don’t understand or care about them and don’t appreciate them. Talk about ignorance, they are the ignorant ones. We don’t have absolute freedom to do whatever we want at any time, at least I don’t think so.

              I’ve also never said I don’t think retiring grazing is a bad idea either, just that I worry about what it will be replaced with in the future. So to one hysteric, it made me a shill for the cattle industry.

              • JB says:

                Ida- Species protected by the Endangered Species Act or the many state-equivalent acts cannot be hunted, so opening up new lands to hunting will not impact them. Likewise, hunters do not hunt songbirds (those impacted by cats), and raptors and bats–those most impacted by windmills–also are not hunted. And again–MIGRATORY BIRD HUNTING IS DECREASING. The picture you paint above is completly inaccurate. Opeingin up less than 5% of the nation’s wildlife refuges to hunting will not in any measurable wayt impact wildlife there.

                Your comments reveal that either you do not understand the origin of refuges and the role they play in conserving wildlife–particularly migratory waterfowl, or you’re being disengenuous.

              • Ida Lupine says:

                I don’t know everything about it. But it can’t hurt to question. As I said, I’m here to learn.

                A nice aside –

                Opening my windows this morning I was greeted by two whitetail fawns just starting to lose their spots, at the bird feeder, eating my pachysandras, which get overgrown. I didn’t see a mom. They were also eating the dogwood seed pods, which I didn’t know deer ate.

                Have a good day, all –

            • Nancy says:

              “As it stands today, there is no equitable access for non-hunters in the areas hunters use — even on non-hunting days at refuges. Birders and photographers could pay fees as hunters do, to access the same wetlands zones in a more balanced way. But instead, there is a huge disparity between the privileges and freedoms given to hunters on refuges, particularly in the face of how disruptive hunting is on many levels — and then, the limited privileges accorded those of us who visit refuges in less intrusive, photographic and bird-watching ways”

              A very interesting read on the subject JB, Ida, Louise & SB:


              • Nancy says:

                “My perspective on waterfowl hunting comes from sharing the field with duck hunters, and grappling with their dirty little secret, as it were: the wounding rate inherent in the sport. It’s an aspect of duck hunting that many non-hunters simply do not know about.There are the thousands or possibly millions of uncounted water birds, the “cripples,” as hunters call them — the ducks shot and left crippled with injuries, or birds that fly away but succumb to injuries later”

                Read on:


              • JB says:


                The premise of this article is that if non-hunters had a mechanism like hunters (e.g., a non-hunter stamp) then the allegedly much larger group of non-hunting wildlife enthusiasts would drown out hunting interest. Let me counter this with a few facts:

                (1) Ohio sold 855,000 fishing licenses and 425,000 hunting licenses in 2012. The state also sold ~28,000 wetland stamps, which are required to hunt waterfowl.
                (2) Four years ago, Ohio initiated the “Wildlife Legacy Stamp”, which does EXACTLY what the authors claims to want–that is, it provides a distinct mechanism for non-hunters to contribute without buying a hunting or fishing license, and even comes with a very nice stamp, magnet and other materials (I know, because I buy them). I also happen to know that each year Ohio sells a few thousand of these stamps, and importantly, at least some (the amount is as yet unknown) are purchased by hunters and anglers.

                So either the group of non-hunting wildlife enthusiasts is not near as large as people claim, or they’re a whole lot stingier with their money than hunters and anglers. In either case, the premise of the article is faulty — we’ve tried the ‘non-hunter’ stamp, and while it raises a few extra dollars, it pales in comparison to what hunters and anglers raise through license sales, federal duck stamps, tag fees, and excise taxes on hunting and fishing related equipment.

              • Ida Lupine says:

                Thank you, Nancy:

                I thought this section was especially helpful. Nice to have suspicions confirmed:

                The history of hunting on National Wildlife Refuges parallels the history of refuge funding. You can find a chronological overview of legislation here, at the Federal Duck Stamp Office website. But, in summary:

                Early refuges were established to protect wildlife from the unscrupulous and indiscriminate hunting practices at the end of the 19th century. Plume hunters, market hunters and opportunists of all varieties nearly wiped out birds like egrets for their willowy plumes, and slaughtered bison for even more nefarious political reasons. The Migratory Bird Conservation Act of 1929 expanded the refuge system and “provided authorization for the acquisition of wetlands for waterfowl habitat.” With the passage of the Migratory Bird Hunting Stamp Act in 1934, a fund was created for refuge land acquisition. In 1959, Public Law 85-585 amended the Act to limited hunting opportunities to 40 percent of a refuge. The National Wildlife Refuge System Administration Act of 1966 was amended in 1978 to remove that 40 percent cap and allow hunting on more than 40 percent of refuge land.(emphasis mine)

                In recent years, continuous pressure by sportsmens groups and the National Rifle Association (NRA) to provide more hunting opportunities on National Wildlife Refuges has resulted in refuges previously closed to hunting, now being opened to hunters. Species formerly protected on some of these refuges, are now subjected to hunting pressure, with many of these changes slipping under the public radar.(emphasis mine) Some the refuge changes are enumerated in this NRA letter to its members on the subject of the National Wildlife Refuge System Improvement Act of 1997. The letter acknowledges that the “NRA played a key role in getting language included in this act making hunting a ‘priority public use’ on National Wildlife Refuges.” In a separate NRA document, their Director of Conservation, Wildlife and Natural Resources is quoted as saying: “We have always felt confident that the language in the Improvement Act (which the NRA was involved in drafting) provided the necessary firewall against HSUS’ continuing assaults on hunting in wildlife refuges.”

                This next excerpt comes the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service document Conserving the Future: Wildlife Refuges and the Next Generation:

                “There is an unbreakable bond between traditional users, such as anglers and hunters, and the Refuge System because these users depend on healthy fish and wildlife populations and habitats, and their activities are directly related to the System’s mission. We are committed to working with state fish and wildlife agencies, hunters and anglers to increase wildlife-dependent recreational uses on public lands.”

                So why if sportsmen already have nearly 50% of access to hunting in refuges do they need more?

                I’m afraid compromise means give us our 50% and your 50%.

              • JB says:


                I’m curious–which suspicions were confirmed? FYI, the following statement is ridiculous:

                “Species formerly protected on some of these refuges, are now subjected to hunting pressure…”

                Yeah, species like white-tailed deer, which are damaging the flora of said refuges.

                If you could take off your ideological blinders for a moment, you’d realize that this is NOT a big deal.

              • Ida Lupine says:

                Sorry, those last two paragraphs shouldn’t be italicized.

                JB, I meant that special interests worming their way into making policy. I shouldn’t have been so harsh with USF&W because I know people get pressure from all sides. I don’t even complain about the NRA (within reason), but enough is enough.

                I also hope that these things and state control of national parks won’t be used as bargaining chips to end the government shutdown?

              • Louise Kane says:

                Nancy thanks for posting the two articles. The one about water fowl hunting resonates particularly. I wal every day and explore coastal areas where I live. I especially love to walk the marshes and beaches. This time of year, is a hard time for the birds. Every stand of grass or hummock, or hiding place has someone dressed in camoflage waiting to blast the birds out of the sky. I see the birds shrieking in terror as they hear the shots and desperately trying to find somewhere else to land only to be blown out of the sky by someone else. It sucks. But what is worse is to walk down to the beach where I live and find tens or hundreds of formerly beautiful birds washed up dead. Their lifeless bodies surging in and out of the surf all having died for nothing. The injured birds either died at sea or flew away and get washed up after some careless sob blasted away. I counted 36 and photographed every one on a short stretch of beach last fall. Every day more washed up. It happens every fall. Thats just one beach, how many die nationally or internationally as they attempt to land, feed, migrate. Its sickening. I’m working on a petition to ban that activity in our town…

            • Louise Kane says:

              JB I am not disputing and facts that you have just stated. My concern is strictly based on opening new refuges to hunting. Why do more places need to be opened and turned into hunting grounds rather than remain refuges. An area open to hunting is not a refuge.

              and to spek to the issue of the wildlife stamp in Ohio…I am quite sure that the general public is not nearly as informed about the issues of funding wildlife conservation as those who post here. I wonder how the sales might be impacted if the state fish and wildlife agencies advertised that people buying wildlife stamps would be contributing to conservation efforts for particular species or better yet to advertise that the funds from the purchase of the stamps would buy wildlife watchers and lovers a real seat at the table like hunters have. Just saying….maybe the sale of stamps does not exactly correlate as you suggest in your post of the same.

  23. Ida Lupine says:

    I’m only concerned with what’s happening now. The time for niceties is past. How dare I challenge, I guess. Goodnight!

    • SaveBears says:

      Challenge all you want, but expect to be challenged as well. That is the problem, so many are only concerned with what is happening now.

  24. Nancy says:

    “So either the group of non-hunting wildlife enthusiasts is not near as large as people claim, or they’re a whole lot stingier with their money than hunters and anglers”

    I kind of think JB we’re mixing apples and oranges here.

    Millions of people, every year, visit parks and refuges to view wildlife (and pay fees to do that, at many refuges and certainly at national parks) and all they take away are wonderful memories and lots of pics, while leaving the wildlife intact.

    Hunters on the otherhand, by law, are required to lay out fees because when they visit public lands and refuges – they take away that wildlife for personal use (food) and ten minutes on the internet will sadly show you that too many also take away that wildlife so they can brag about it.

  25. Nancy says:

    “If the government and those lands don’t re-open soon, all of that may be lost, since there’s no delaying hunting season. “Hunting season ends when it ends, when the animals move,” Fosburgh said. If the shutdown doesn’t end before then, there’s no bringing back everything it has already cost America’s hunters and fishers — or the environment and communities that depend on them”

    OMG!! – could this actually be the reprieve for wildlife all over this country (since WE humans started dictating how their lives should be managed AND then sacrificed for the greater good) of the human species 🙂


September 2013


‎"At some point we must draw a line across the ground of our home and our being, drive a spear into the land and say to the bulldozers, earthmovers, government and corporations, “thus far and no further.” If we do not, we shall later feel, instead of pride, the regret of Thoreau, that good but overly-bookish man, who wrote, near the end of his life, “If I repent of anything it is likely to be my good behaviour."

~ Edward Abbey