Thanks for the July 5 article by Daniel Walton regarding a constitutional amendment to protect the right to hunt and fish in North Carolina [“Hunting For Votes: Constitutional Amendment on Hunting and Fishing Rights May Have Political Motives”].
This amendment will address a problem that doesn’t actually exist. However, with last year’s passage of [the] Outdoor Heritage Enhanced [law], our legislature created a very real problem for nonhunters who have relied on Sundays as a free and clear day to go where they please on our public lands, in particular our national forests. Fall and winter Sundays are especially critical for visitors to the Croatan National Forest in Eastern North Carolina, because conditions in the warmer months of the year can be extremely challenging for camping and hiking, and you can just about forget off-trail exploration of the more remote areas.
But as regards any of our four national forests in North Carolina — the Croatan, Nantahala, Pisgah and Uwharrie — Outdoor Heritage Enhanced essentially confiscates our one day and hands it over to people who already had six.
Many of our state legislators understand that opening public lands to hunting on Sundays greatly diminishes access and enjoyment of these lands for everybody else who wants to spend safe, quality time in the woods. As a compromise, let the hunters have private property and gamelands outside our national forests, and leave the national forests wide open to everyone else on Sundays.
The referendum currently proposed won’t hurt anything or accomplish anything. A referendum that allows North Carolina residents to decide whether or not they want hunting on national forest lands on Sunday would have far greater meaning to the state. It would also be in much greater harmony with our current state constitution, which says, “It shall be the policy of this State to conserve and protect its lands and waters for the benefit of all its citizenry …” (Article XIV, Miscellaneous, Sec. 5, emphasis added).
— Tom Glasgow