After a year long campaign by Arkansas sportsmen and conservation groups the refuge expansion proposal is now in serious jeopardy. Apparently stalled by some politically connected anti-refuge “fat cats” that your congressmen depend on for donations.
The expansion proposal was the refuge’s ambitious plan to preserve some of the last remaining bottomland forests near the lower White River, while adding over 125,000 acres into the public trust. Approval would allow the refuge to buy land from WILLING SELLERS, using money from Duck Stamp dollars and LWC Funds. (No general taxpayer dollars would be used)
Bowing to pressure from elected officials, the USFWS issued a news release Friday “pausing” the proposed expansion for further evaluation. In the press release David Viker, SE Region Chief said: “While there is significant support for the expansion…..we take the concerns of those who oppose it seriously.”
If it were up to a vote today, the "majority would rule" because refuge expansion supporters far exceed the naysayers in sheer numbers. Consider the Friends of White River’s 15,000+ FaceBook fans, the 1,200 petition signers, as well as the public support from the thousands of members of the: Arkansas Bowhunters Association, Arkansas Wildlife Federation, Arkansas Audubon Society, ArkLA Squirrel & Coon Hunters, Arkansas Canoe Club, as well as the National Wildlife Refuge Association. With 47% of Arkansas hunters dependent upon public lands it’s not surprising so many Arkansas sportsmen support it.
Frustratingly for sportsmen and conservationists, these congressmen’s actions confirms what many of you already intuitively know…., these congressmen do not represent the interests of the majority but are instead ruled by the well connected few they so desperately depend on for donations. Their hope is YOU won't pay attention. Their hope is YOU won’t bother to get involved. In this way they can continue to cater to their donors while ignoring YOU. As a result, Arkansas conservation efforts will suffer as potentially millions of dollars in Duck Stamp and Land & Water Conservation Funds will now be diverted to other states.
These congressmen need to hear from you. Tell them you disapprove of the delay and that you support the refuge expansion. Stop now and call, email or both!
Senator Boozman's Office:
D.C. Office: 202-224-4843
Little Rock Office: 501-372-7153
Senator Pryor's Office:
D.C. Office: 202-224-2353 D.C.
Little Rock Office: 501-324-6336
Representative Rick Crawford
Call Jay Sherrod
Little Rock Office: 501-843-3043
--->Jim Taylor, Friend of the Refuge