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Presidential Candidates Urged to Keep Public Lands Affordable

The presidential candidates are being urged to protect public lands in Maryland. (dnr.maryland.gov)
The presidential candidates are being urged to protect public lands in Maryland. (dnr.maryland.gov)
September 9, 2016

ANNAPOLIS, Md. – The presidential contenders are being asked to take a stand on public lands. Members of 40 environmental and sportsman groups just sent a letter to the candidates for the White House. Wildlife biologist Eric Orff with the National Wildlife Federation said Marylanders need to know if those running for the highest office in the land intend to keep public lands public.

"Keep them in the public hands, so that hunters and fishermen and outdoor enthusiasts like myself on modest incomes have a place to go; and for children and grandchildren to enjoy the vastness and wonders of this country," he said.

More than 6.5 million people visit the 29 sites in Maryland that are run by the National Park Service including two national heritage areas. Nineteen threatened or endangered species live on national public land in the state. The Maryland Forest Service manages more than 145,000 acres of designated State Forests as well.

President and CEO of the National Wildlife Federation Collin O'Mara said public lands always have received support from both major political parties.

"We're asking candidates across America to affirm their commitment to keeping these public lands in public hands for the good of everyone that loves the outdoors, everyone likes to hunt or fish, or camp or hike or bird, and for the nation's wildlife and water supplies and our natural resources," he said.

Supporters say public lands also support the nation's growing outdoor recreation industry, which generates more than $646 billion a year.

Veronica Carter, Public News Service - MD