Group Urges Americans to Stand Up for Nation's Wildlife Refuges
DENVER - As the standoff at the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in Oregon continues, the National Wildlife Federation (NWF) is urging Americans to buy Federal Duck Stamps to show their support for protecting wildlife habitat on public lands.
Aaron Kindle, NWF Western Sportsmen's campaign manager, says since refuges are home to fish and game, he's hoping hunters and anglers, who understand that protecting habitat equals opportunity, will step up.
"The great thing about the Duck Stamp is, it's really there for the habitat," says Kindle. "You're putting 98 percent of your money into key habitat for these species. So, you're really putting money into something that will directly benefit you, and your fellow sportsmen and women."
Whether you hunt, fish, hike, or bird-watch, Kindle says everyone benefits when public lands are protected for use by all Americans. Duck Stamps were created in 1934 after President Franklin Delano Roosevelt signed a landmark bird-hunting measure into law. They can be purchased at National Wildlife Refuges, some post offices, and many sporting goods stores.
The occupation of the rural Oregon refuge comes on the heels of several state-level and congressional attempts to privatize federal lands. But research from Colorado College indicates more than 95 percent of voters support keeping public lands in public hands.
Kindle says buying a Duck Stamp is one more vote to keep national lands open to everyone.
"Those refuges are home to all kinds of wildlife, migratory birds," he says. "They're really something that we all enjoy and we all use. And it shows a measure of solidarity against efforts to privatize or transfer, or seize our public lands."
Don't make the mistake of putting a Duck Stamp on a regular letter. At $25 a pop, you'll want to keep yours someplace safe. Kindle says some people have framed stamps going back decades. They've become collectors items, for the fine art commissioned by the Interior Department on the stamps each year.