Everyone has their favorite slice of public land. So how did we pick our thirty great places?

For starters we didn’t pick the “thirty best” – how could you? Instead, we picked thirty places we felt helped to tell the story of America’s public land heritage. And there are a lot more great places to hunt and fish on public lands.

Throw a dart at any public land map and you will hit someone’s great place. Maybe it is where they taught their kids to fish. Or shot their first elk. Or go every year to pick huckleberries. Or ate their first s’more. Or watched that one sunset that is burned into their memory. Or filled the freezer with venison. Or went on that epic backpacking trip. Or any other of the countless reasons we love public lands.

We also wanted to demonstrate the breadth of our public lands and connect our readers with their public land heritage. Sometimes public land issues are labeled as “Western,” but the fact of the matter is that there are great public lands in every corner the country and these lands are the birthright of all Americans. It makes no difference whether you live in Manhattan, New York or Manhattan, Montana these are your public lands.

You will also notice a diversity of public land types, including National Forests, National Wildlife Refuges, Bureau of Land Management lands, National Monuments, and National Parks. Together, these different types of public land make up 610 million acres that offer some of the best hunting and fishing in the world. The term public land is a catch all and each category of public land offers unique opportunities for American sportsmen and women.

Last, public lands are about the people who have dedicated themselves to conserving these places for future generations. Whether it’s the TU volunteer who teaches kids to fish, the public land manager tasked with safeguarding our lands, the biologist restoring native trout to their home waters, or the advocate who has tirelessly fought to keep the backcountry from being developed, we all owe these conservationists our deepest thanks.

We hope that you will enjoy getting to know your public land heritage.  These great places are uniquely American and truly one of our best ideas ever.

Support public lands and look good doing it!

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