North American Model of Wildlife Conservation

How the people of the United States and Canada achieved the ‘Triumph of the Commons’ and restored wildlife to abundance and preserved wild lands and natural landscapes for future generations.

“The greatest good for the greatest number of people for the greatest length of time.” – Gifford Pinchot


The North American Model of Wildlife Conservation

Our American national development resulted in almost total destruction of the wildlife populations of the nation. Leaders such as Theodore Roosevelt stepped forward in the 1880’s and 1890’s to start a national effort to save part of the nation’s landscapes as wild and natural areas, and to restore wildlife numbers to a size that could be of benefit to the people of many generations. Hunters and anglers, standing virtually alone, created this ‘conservation movement,’ gave it political force and social leadership and provided for financial support.

The American people invested in the duel development of our treasury of public lands and waters, and the restoration of wildlife. This investment was immensely successful and has produced profits for the people beyond what anybody could have predicted. Today there is a great effort to loot the public treasury of those conservation profits. This looting takes place even as a growing population of urban Americans want and need the benefits of the great wild and natural landscapes and wildlife abundance bankrolled for them by their ancestors.

The most common method of taking the value of public wildlife from the American people is simply by blocking legal access to the public lands and waters, or by commercial schemes that create unequal opportunity to enjoy the public wildlife.

Though not formally organized in principle until 2001, the North American Model of Wildlife Conservation has been widely accepted by wildlife professionals, incorporated into U.S. state agencies, and endorsed by professional organizations and teaching institutions.


• Wildlife as Public Trust Resources
The people own the wildlife and assign direct management to government

• Elimination of Markets for Wildlife
Illegal to sell and buy live animals and parts of dead animals.

• Allocation of Wildlife by Law
Public law identifies who can hunt, and sets seasons, bag limits, number of permits, etc to regulate the hunt.

• Wildlife Can Only be Killed for a Legitimate Purpose
Non-Hunters and Hunters share a cultural value that abhors waste of public property & wanton destruction.

• Wildlife are Considered an International Resource
Migratory species cross national boundaries. Oceans, rivers and lakes, etc.

• Science is the Proper Tool for Discharge of Wildlife Policy
The law and regulation of people and wildlife derives from valid scientific research
We had to invent the science of wildlife biology to fulfill this need.

• Democracy of Hunting
Every citizen qualified to hunt under law has equal standing to obtain the privilege and opportunity to hunt or otherwise benefit from use of the public property. Access to the wildlife and public lands and waters is controlled and regulated by the public trustee according to laws made by representatives of the people.


The Association of Fish & Wildlife Agencies endorsement of the North American Model of Wildlife Conservation

Public Land/Water Access Association Inc. or PLWA,
is a citizen group organized and operated under the Montana nonprofit corporation act.
The Internal Revenue Service has made a determination that PLWA qualifies as a tax- exempt
organization under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code and that it is a public charity.

Articles and Information on this site represent the opinion of the writer and are not intended as legal advice.
Legal counsel may be needed in dealing with specific access situations and issues.