The Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation (CSF) has announced the appointment of Evan Hafer, founder and chief executive officer of Black Rifle Coffee Company, to its board of directors. The CSF works directly with Congress, governors, and state legislatures to protect and advance hunting, angling, recreational shooting, and trapping.
“My goal is to bring a veteran’s perspective to the board,” Hafer told Free Range American. “I want to help activate the veterans’ community around giving back to our country, to wildlife, and wild places. Hunting and fishing can provide a new mission to veterans, and it’s worth protecting.”
Washington — and the United States at large — has never been more divided, but hunting, fishing, and conservation are great unifying topics inside and outside the Beltway, said Jeff Crane, president of the CSF.
“Conservation and outdoor traditions provide a platform to talk about things that aren’t as polarized, and we found that with the last Congress,” Crane said. “A divided government, a split Congress, and we worked with colleagues on both sides of the aisle to advance legislation most predicted wasn’t remotely possible.”
The CSF had a direct hand in the passage of the Great American Outdoors Act, which secured revenues from energy development projects to provide up to $1.9 billion a year for five years to fund critical facilities and infrastructure maintenance in our national parks, forests, wildlife refuges, recreation areas, and American Indian schools. It also secures royalties from offshore oil and natural gas projects to permanently support the Land and Water Conservation Fund to the tune of $900 million a year. The LWCF secures and protects public lands, including working forests, ranchlands, wildlife habitat, critical drinking water supplies, and disappearing historic battlefields.
Thanks in no small part to the work of the CSF and the vision of its board of directors, along with other sportsmen’s groups, the Great American Outdoors Act was a bipartisan win for hunters and anglers. When the act was first discussed on Capitol Hill, the original scope was to simply address the maintenance backlog within the National Park System. While a national treasure, the park system is largely closed off to hunters, motorized travel, and other means of recreation.
“We love our national parks, but we told Congress they’re forgetting all the public lands where our constituents hunt and fish,” Crane said. “So, what about addressing the funding of the Bureau of Land Management lands, the Forest Service, the national refuge system? It took some negotiating, but members of Congress came back, and they agreed.”
Hafer will bring a needed veteran’s perspective, an entrepreneurial spirit, and the requisite outdoorsman’s enthusiasm when considering federal and state policy strategy, Crane said. In addition to its efforts in the nation’s capital, the CSF works with 2,500 state legislators organized in 49 state caucuses, which has resulted in more than 500 pro-sportsmen’s bills passed in the last two years. Other board members include Bruce Pettet, president and CEO of Leupold & Stevens Inc.; Christopher Metz, CEO of Vista Outdoor Inc.; and Bob Ziehmer, senior director of conservation for Bass Pro Shops, among others.
“I’m honored to be a part of this group,” Hafer said, “to help work toward the long-term sustainability of the sportsman’s lifestyle, of the environment and public lands. We have to have open land managed well, so we can get outdoors as a society.”
Crane said Hafer is going to be an easy fit. “When I first met him, we spent the whole time talking about archery elk hunting. I remember thinking afterward, ‘This is going to really work out.’”