In 1991, the President of the American Federation of
Mineralogical Societies (AFMS) appointed a select committee to recommend ways to make the
Federation more effectively responsive to the political challenges of increasing
regulation and decreasing access to public lands that State and Federal Land Management
agencies were imposing on amateur fossil and mineral collectors. The committee recommended
that the AFMS form a separate 501(c)(4) organization whose primary purpose would be to
promote the amateur collectors' interests in present and proposed policies, rules,
regulations and legislation with State and Federal land managers, elected officials and
legislators. In compliance with that recommendation, the AFMS directors voted to establish
the American Lands Access Association (ALAA) in July 1992 at their convention in
Brunswick, Ohio. The Association is a 501 (c)(4) (non-profit) organization which means
that all moneys raised by the association can go toward lobbying activity. Donations and
memberships to ALAA are not tax deductible.
The purpose of the Association is to promote and ensure the rights of
amateur fossil and mineral collecting, recreational prospecting and mining, and the use of
public and private lands for educational and recreational purposes ; and to carry the
voice of all amateur collectors and hobbyists to our elected officials, government
regulators and public land managers. Their work began immediately! Within days of the July
meeting, Senator Max Baucus (D-MT) introduced the Vertebrate Paleontological Resources
Protection Act of 1992 into the U.S. Senate. If enacted, the legislation would have ended
amateur fossil collecting on all public lands managed by the Federal government
exceptunder supervision of certain degreed paleontologists in "acceptable
ALAA has become an organization that is present wherever there are
hobbyist and recreational users of our public lands whose interests and concerns are not
being heard or are being jeopardized by proposed policy, regulation or legislation at the
local, state and federal level. From defeating the Baucus Bill in 1992 to coordinating
massive public protest to the proposed US Forest Service rules (withdrawn) and the Bureau
of Land Management's RS (Revised Statutes) 2477 Rights-of-Way (rewritten), the ALAA has
earned the respect of public officials from Washington, DC to state capitols across the
country as the voice of the amateur and recreational users of public lands. The
Association has also formed working relationships with many other organizations fighting
for private property rights and multiple use of public lands including the Blue Ribbon
Coalition, the Alliance for America as well as treasure hunters, metal detectorists,
fishing and hunting enthusiasts, and mining and timber interests. With this network of
contacts, the Association reaches into every State and into every Congressional District
in the country on a national level. That network provides a swift and effective response
to issues brought to our attention.
On another level, many officers, directors and members of the
Association have developed ongoing working relationships with local, state and federal
officials and legislators. This other network provides us with immediate access to and an
impact on many proposals for changing regulations, policy or legislation before they
become set in the concrete of implementation.
ALAA is also there when there are confrontations in the field and when
proposals are made for expanding federal ownership of land such as publicizing and
fighting the Heritage Corridor Act, and other attempts to establish additional wilderness
areas under federal control.
YOUR HELP IS NEEDED TO CONTINUE OUR STRUGGLE TO PROTECT PUBLIC LANDS FOR THE
PUBLIC TO WHOM THEY BELONG! ADD YOUR VOICE TO OURS! JOIN ALAA NOW !
WHY MEMBERSHIP IN ALAA ?
I am a 80 year old rockhound who has been collecting
rocks and minerals for the past 25 years. My concern is not about my future collecting,
but rather that of the future hobbyists. I was unable to enjoy a hobby when fully employed
and making a living for my family. Since my retirement I have become fully involved in
earth science hobbies. I belong to several clubs, have been President of Eastern
Federation of Mineralogical Societies (EFMLS), the American Federation of Mineralogical
Societies (AFMS), and
the American Lands Access Association (ALAA). I have thoroughly enjoyed the association
with others of like interests and wish to do whatever I can to preserve the future of
rockhounding. Many folks who retire in future years will need an outlet for their own well
being. I want that to be related to the earth sciences. Children who are introduced to the
hobby often become our future geologists, mineralogists and museum specialists. They also
have a right to love the hobby, and it is our responsibility to protect it for them.
The American Lands Access Association (ALAA) was organized as a
lobbying organization to protect the rights of American citizens to collect materials
relating to the earth sciences for preservation, education, and hobby purposes from
Federally Managed Public Lands.
If you are a rockhound, fossil, or mineral collector, or in any way
connected to this growing group of hobbyists, the ALAA is an organization you must
support. The entire future of this hobby depends upon your ability to be able to collect
materials. Federally Managed Lands are our only salvation. As you know private holdings
are becoming more restrictive with each passing day.
Thus far the ALAA has achieved significant success. Never before has a
grass roots organization such as ours gotten a bill introduced in Congress. While HR 2943,
the Fossil Preservation Act of 1996 did not pass before the close of the 104th Congress,
folks on Capitol Hill have now heard of ALAA and know about our fossil bill. We have
promises that "our bill" will again be introduced in both houses soon after the
106th Congress convenes. We are making progress.
We need help from the general public, those people who have an interest
in learning about, preserving, and protecting earth science materials. WE NEED HELP FROM
HOW CAN YOU HELP ? JOIN ALAA NOW!!!
Your membership will do two things.
Add needed funds to our treasury. (Membership is $25.00 per year per
More importantly, we will have the name and address of another person
sympathetic to our cause, when vital news breaks.
If we lose our rights to collect on Federally Managed Public Lands, and
continue to have private lands closed off, we will only be able to collect in our own back
yards. Won't that be fun?
Attached is an application form to join ALAA. Fill it out, and send it in
with your $25.00 membership fee. It may be the best investment of your life.
Fred C. Schaefermeyer, (ALAA Vice President, retired in 1998)