As the occupation of Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in Oregon enters a second week, the Montana Wildlife Federation is joining the National Wildlife Federation and state federations around the country in urging Americans to show their support for protecting public lands by buying a Duck Stamp.
The Malheur occupiers have said that they will not leave until the refuge and other public lands are taken out of public hands and given to private interests. The occupation follows unsuccessful political efforts to take over public lands in Montana and other Western states. Such efforts have failed to gain traction because they are wildly unpopular with the public. Last year, the Montana Legislature rejected every single bill that was introduced in order to take over public lands.
“The takeover of a wildlife refuge is a particular slap in the face to hunters, who have personally helped fund the creation of so many wildlife refuges,” said Montana Wildlife Federation executive director Dave Chadwick. “Now hunters are forced to watch a group of armed, anti-government trespassers occupy the very lands that they helped protect.”
For 80 years, waterfowl hunters have been required to purchase a Duck Stamp, which helps fund the protection of wildlife refuge lands – and hunters have strongly supported the program from the outset. Bird watchers and many other outdoor enthusiasts also buy the stamps in order to support wildlife and habitat.
Duck Stamp funds are used to acquire public land for wildlife refuges, helping expand wildlife habitat and hunting access. Since the program was created in 1934, more than 300 national wildlife refuges, including at least one in every state, were created or have been expanded using Federal Duck Stamp revenue, totaling more than 6.5 million acres.
To send a peaceful, constructive message of support for public lands, MWF is urging Montanans to purchase a Duck Stamp today. You can buy a Federal Duck Stamp at National Wildlife Refuges, select post offices, and many major sporting goods stores, or online. Hunters and others who already have a Duck Stamp can also purchase an additional stamp to show their support for public lands.
“National wildlife refuges and other public lands are important to millions of hunters, anglers, birdwatchers and other outdoors enthusiasts. Poll after poll shows how much we love our public lands,” said Chadwick. “Buying a Federal Duck Stamp is one simple but meaningful way we can send a message that Montanans support keeping public lands in public hands.”
“Whether a hunter, angler, birder, hiker, or wildlife enthusiast, every American benefits from the amazing public lands that have been protected for generations for the benefit of all Americans,” said Collin O’Mara, president and chief executive officer of the National Wildlife Federation. “By purchasing Federal Duck Stamps, we can show our strong support for conserving wildlife, enhancing wildlife refuges, and ensuring that America’s public lands remain accessible to all Americans.”
Buy a Duck Stamp and help Stamp Out Bundy
Dave Chadwick is the Executive Director of Montana Wildlife Federation