The midterm elections are notorious for low voter turnout. In 2014, it was the lowest since World War II. So this year, companies, celebrities and non-profit organizations are rallying behind get-out-the-vote campaigns.
This includes one of the region’s biggest outdoor groups.
“As we look at the threats on our public lands and waters right now, both from a state and federal level, it’s time to engage the people,” said Land Tawney, president of Backcountry Hunters and Anglers.
Backcountry Hunters and Anglers touts thousands of members nationwide. Even though they come from across the political spectrum, most of them love to hunt and fish on public lands. In fact, access to those lands is one of the few issues conservatives and progressives often agree on in the Mountain West.
So this November, Tawney wants his members to cast their vote for candidates that support those values.
As a non-profit organization, Backcountry Hunters and Anglers is forbidden to tell its members who to vote for, but it is passing out reports on how candidates from five states – including Colorado – view public lands.
It is also encouraging members to look at where candidates stand on the Land and Water Conservation Fund, which funnels money from offshore drilling and puts it into conservation projects on public lands.
For Backcountry Hunters and Anglers, it’s one of the most important pieces of public lands access legislation passed by Congress. However, the fund is set to expire on September 30th unless it is reauthorized by lawmakers.
This story was produced by the Mountain West News Bureau, a collaboration between Wyoming Public Media, Boise State Public Radio in Idaho, Yellowstone Public Radio in Montana, KUER in Salt Lake City and KRCC and KUNC in Colorado.