To the editor:
If we consider conservation from the standpoint of wildlife, we might think it includes protecting the wildlife’s habitat, fresh water, and food supply. We might suggest conservation should also include the opportunity for wildlife to reproduce and rear young in a safe, natural environment. In essence, conservation of wildlife is the act of protecting and preserving the wildlife and their habitats for the future of the wildlife species and the future generations of mankind.
You know what is not included in the above description of wildlife conservation? The disturbance and/or destruction of natural habitat to construct facilities for human activity. In fact, it would not be a stretch to say the disturbance and/or destruction of natural habitat is the exact opposite of wildlife conservation! So why is there a proposal to disturb and/or destroy 300-plus acres of natural environment around Lake Carl Blackwell being made in the name of “conservation”? A proposal being heard by the (Oklahoma A&M Board and Regents) would allow just that, a 300+ acre area of natural habitat to be the new site of a firing range.
Please do not misunderstand. My family are gun owners. I am an advocate of gun ownership, gun rights, and ethically regulated hunting. I have no problem with the building of a firing range. In fact I support the idea of expanding our ability to have a well-educated, armed public.
Here is what troubles me: the destruction of natural habitat in the name of conservation.
I understand we need educated hunters, and I understand a public firing range could be used for hunter education. However, the destruction of natural habitat for any purpose is not conservation!
The disturbance of native species, some of them federally protected, threatened, or endangered, for any purpose is not conservation. The disturbance of nesting Bald Eagles, as have been reported around Lake Carl Blackwell, for any purpose is not conservation, and it would also be illegal.
Destroying natural habitat in the name of conservation is at best, misleading, and it does not reflect what I know in my heart to be what Oklahomans stand for!