Do you enjoy our wild spaces? Do you hike, paddle, climb, mountain bike or trail run? You can help protect these places by joining a membership organization. Here are some national organizations and below the article are links to some Arkansas-based organizations.
In the last few months, the public’s interest in civic engagement and advocacy is through the roof. At Outdoor Alliance, we do a lot to make sure that you are plugged into the issues you care about on public lands, and our community has been incredibly responsive. Our work on H.R. 621 (the bill to sell of 3.3 million acres of public lands) was instrumental in Rep. Chaffetz withdrawing it, and we sent 20,000 letters to lawmakers about rolling back the public process on BLM lands.We’ve gone through a number of ways that you can help do more to protect public lands, but there’s one big thing you can do that means that you are supporting the work to protect public lands all day, every day:
Local outdoor membership organizations:
- International Mountain Bicycling Association (IMBA): By becoming a member of IMBA 40-50% of your dues go to your local chapter. Arkansas has numerous IMBA chapters who work hard for trail access and maintain the trails we all love.
- Friends of Ouachita Trail (FoOT): The Ouachita National Recreation Trail is the longest single trail in the state, meandering through the Ouachita National Forest from Oklahoma to Little Rock. FoOT not only takes care of this trail but also makes improvements and protects the area.
- The Ozark Society: Originally formed to protect the Buffalo River and its watershed in 1962, the Ozark Society worked for the creation of the Buffalo National River, now a part of the National Park Service. They continue to work not only to protect the Buffalo but other watersheds throughout the Ozarks.
- Arkansas Canoe Club (ACC): The ACC is highly active on issues which affect the health and natural beauty of streams in Arkansas and beyond. They work with a number of other conservation and environmental organizations and both state and federal government agencies to support projects and policies which aid in the preservation the waters of Arkansas.
- Arkansas Chapter of the Sierra Club: The granddaddy of outdoor protection organizations, the Arkansas Chapter – with around 2750 members – was established in 1982 to help protect the wilderness areas of Arkansas.
There are more local organizations, take the time to find the one that fits with your passion and support them.