Given how divisive this election has been, it seems safe to say we are heading for some hard times. There are a great many challenges ahead. What we know the most about here at Outdoor Alliance is public lands and protecting the outdoors, so we will just focus on that for a second.
For the first time in quite a while, there will be a Republican president and a Republican House and Senate. What this means is that there will be very few checks on some of the more extreme plans for our public lands—like transferring them to the states, where they are likely to be immediately threatened by development or sale. This is especially the case given that transferring American public land to the states is a plank in the 2016 Republican Party platform. We are going to be more reliant than ever on the elected officials that support public lands and conservation, and we are particularly going to be reliant on all of you to stay engaged, reach out to your members of Congress, and tell them why protecting public lands matters. Unlike many of his primary rivals, Donald Trump has said that he opposes turning over public lands to the states; recently, though, he has shown signs of walking back this commitment. It will be up to all of us to help educate him and his administration on this issue.
We are similarly deeply concerned about the ability of the new administration and Congress to address the challenges of climate change, which are becoming more urgent with every passing day. Again, the only hope will be for our community to be leaders in actively engaging and educating Congress and the White House on the issue and why it matters.
As an organization and a community, we are going to have to step up and play a big role. Some conservation organizations, especially those that have historically been more partisan, are going to have a tough time in this new political landscape. Our community has a compelling story to share about the importance of public lands to people, and about the ability of protected public lands to generate economic benefits, especially for rural communities. As a bipartisan community of people with direct, meaningful experiences on our public lands, we have a tremendous responsibility now to communicate our values to incoming policymakers and be leaders in protecting the places that matter.