November 12, 2013
Release: New Poll of Vets Finds Overwhelming Support for Protecting Public Lands
By Vet Voice Foundation | Press Release
Denver, CO – A new poll from Democratic and Republican pollsters shows post-9/11 veterans in western states strongly support protection of America’s parks and public lands. The poll, commissioned by the Vet Voice Foundation, shows that these veterans strongly believe energy development should be balanced with conservation and that those lands too special to develop should be protected as public parks, monuments, or wilderness areas.
A more detailed rundown of the poll can be viewed here:http://www.vetvoicefoundation.org/tools/uploads/files/0003.pdf
Some of the key findings of the poll are:
- A 75 percent majority favors the Federal government protecting public lands by designating them as national parks, monuments, or wilderness, including 56 percent who strongly favor.
- Two-thirds (66 percent) favor a proposal that says the Federal government must weigh the impact of energy development leases on local recreation and wildlife habitat.
- Eighty percent support the concept behind the Land and Water Conservation Fund, which uses fees from offshore energy development to protect and conserve local and national parks, wildlife refuges and working forests onshore.
“This poll scientifically shows what we veterans have always known – many of us depend on these public lands when we come home from war,” said Jon Soltz, Iraq War Veteran and Chairman of the Vet Voice Foundation. “Veterans want to see these common-sense, balanced policies that protect these lands for future generations – especially those who will be serving our nation down the road. We know that these lands play a crucial part in healing and recovery from war.”
Members of the Vet Voice Foundation have been active in local campaigns to protect public lands, including the Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks in New Mexico, Browns Canyon in Colorado, the California desert, and Gold Butte in Nevada.
“It should not be surprising that veterans strongly support protecting our public lands,” said Dan T. Cook, Founder and Executive Director of the nonprofit Rivers of Recovery. “The yearly research that Rivers of Recovery conducts with veterans who attend our therapy program indicate outdoor-based activities contribute significantly to reductions in symptoms of Post-Traumatic Stress (PTS), depression and anxiety. I cannot think of a more effective and appropriate therapy for combat veterans than spending time in nature. Rivers of Recovery fully supports local efforts to conserve critical public lands – for all of us to use.”
Earlier this year, veterans who participated in a Rivers of Recovery program in Browns Canyon on the Arkansas River in Colorado recorded videos encouraging decision-makers to take steps to protect the public lands.
Lake Research Partners (Democratic) and Bellwether Research & Consulting (Republican) designed and administered this survey, which was conducted online and by telephone September 9 – October 20, 2013. It polled veterans in California, Colorado, Nevada, New Mexico, Montana, Oregon, and Washington. The self-identified partisan composition for the total sample is 45 percent Republican, 24 percent Democrat, and 20 percent Independent.
Founded in 2009, the mission of Vet Voice Foundation is to mobilize veterans to become leaders in our nation's democracy through participation in the civic and democratic process. VVF seeks to harness the energy and drive of the dedicated men and women who have fought for their country, and put it to work at home and in their communities on the important issues they face, such as health care, jobs, the environment, and housing.
Rivers of Recovery was founded in 2008 by Executive Director, Dan T. Cook, as a means to help combat veterans overcome the invisible scars of war. In five years, they have hosted hundreds of veterans through their unique rehabilitation program. As an industry leader in veterans rehabilitation, Rivers of Recovery utilizes a medically-designed curriculum coupled with outdoor recreational activities to treat combat veterans suffering with Post Traumatic Stress (PTS), minor Traumatic Brain Injury (mTBI), stress, anxiety and depression.
# # #