Public lands in South Carolina, like the Francis Marion National Forest, Jocassee Gorges and wildlife refuges, are important to everyone in the state and are part of a network of public lands across the United States that belong to all citizens of this country. Unfortunately, this marvelous land legacy is at risk. Legislation is being considered in Congress that would hand over federal lands to state governments or sell them to the highest bidder.

Public lands provide some of the best hunting and fishing opportunities in this country and are essential for maintaining natural ecosystems and the healthy fish and wildlife populations that they support. Unfortunately, with budgets already stretched thin, states will not be able to manage additional lands, if given them, and will be forced to lease or sell them to the highest bidders, a step that will lead to blocking public access.

But these lands belong to all of us, not to a few special interests. Giving away America’s public-land legacy is a direct attack on all of us, not only those who hunt and fish but all who enjoy the beauty and tranquility of nature. I urge Rep. Jeff Duncan, who represents South Carolina’s Third Congressional District and is a member of the House Committee on Natural Resources, to stand up to protect our public lands and our outdoor heritage.

William Anderson Jr.

Clearview Drive