Ten years ago, a group of seven hunters and anglers, standing around a fire in U.S. Army veteran Mike Beagle’s backyard, set in motion a series of events that would lead to the Backcountry Hunters & Anglers (BHA), the sportsman’s voice for our wild public lands, waters and wildlife (www.backcountryhunters.org). This year marks BHA’s 10th anniversary, which we’ll celebrate in Denver during our annual BHA North American Rendezvous (March 21 to 23).
From that original “gang of seven,” BHA has grown to have members in all 50 states and 15 official state chapters (including our first international chapter in British Columbia). But BHA’s first official chapter, the Colorado Backcountry Hunters & Anglers, was formed by a Marine Corps veteran, David “Elkheart” Petersen, author of “A Man Made of Elk.” Since then, the title of Colorado BHA chairman has been passed on to me, a former Air Force missile launch officer.
BHA members know from boots-on-the-ground experience that the backcountry public lands sustaining our hunting and angling heritage are under threat, on many fronts. In Denver, we’ll celebrate our successes, take stock of our losses and strategize on how to protect and perpetuate wildlands and wildlife for future generations of hunters and anglers and others.
So far we have we’ll more than 100 registered guests and 16 vendors (and counting) and a growing roster of special guests, including Colorado Parks and Wildlife Director Bob Broscheid, Rep. Scott Tipton, R-Colo., and Sen. Mark Udall, D-Colo.
Mike Beagle, David Petersen and all the other BHA members know that big wild creatures need big, wild habitat, and we’re endeavoring to follow in the footsteps of America’s greatest hunter-conservationist and Medal of Honor winner Theodore Roosevelt, who said, “Of all the questions which can come before this nation, short of the actual preservation of its existence in a great war, there is none which compares in importance with the great central task of leaving this land even a better land for our descendants than it is for us.”
Join us at BHA’s North American Rendezvous in Denver and help us pass on America’s hunting-angling traditions to future generations. For more information, visit www.backcountryhunters.org/index.php/rendezvous-general.
David A. Lien
Chairman, Colorado Backcountry Hunters & Anglers, Colorado Springs