Last week, the Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation (CSF) hosted a policy luncheon on Capitol Hill to discuss the importance of the 2020 Highway Bill.
Our nation’s transportation systems are integral to the economy, our way of life, and fish and wildlife conservation by improving road safety, enhancing community connectivity, and fish and wildlife conservation programs. Congress has long recognized the impact our nation’s transportation policies and associated infrastructure have on our nation’s fish and wildlife, habitat, and recreational access opportunities. Previous transportation bills have prioritized the integration of transportation projects and our natural resources to increase public access opportunities for sportsmen and women.
The policy luncheon consisted of a moderated panel discussion with diverse stakeholders from the conservation community including Nicole Vasilaros of National Marine Manufacturers Association (NMMA), Mike Leahy of the National Wildlife Federation (NWF), and Ron Reagan of the Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies (AFWA). The panel discussed the varying interests and programs that have historically been included in similar transportation packages, providing the opportunity for Members of Congress and their staff to hear these priorities.
“Accessibility is crucially important especially for our federal lands. I want to have that availability for individuals to enjoy the outdoors,” said Congressional Sportsmen’s Caucus (CSC) member Rep. Don Young. “The true key to this is conservation of the outdoors, understanding it is a renewable resource, and that if we take care of it, it’ll be here forever.”
“Our infrastructure plays a pivotal role in the opportunities that sportsmen and women have across the nation,” said CSF President Jeff Crane. ” We are thankful these individuals joined us today to discuss the varying perspectives of how the Highway bill will affect the sportsmen’s community, and how all interested parties can find common ground to help address these access opportunities for sportsmen and women. We are urging members of Congress to pass this bill before the end of the 116th session.”
CSF is making the 2020 Highway Bill a priority this year and will work tirelessly to get it passed.
Sponsors included American Sportfishing Association; Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies; Boat US; Jeff More; Mule Deer Foundation; National Wildlife Federation; National Marine Manufacturers Association; National Wild Turkey Federation; and Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation.
Studies conducted at both the state and federal level have found that the number of hunters and trappers have been on a generally declining trend over the past several decades. To increase recruitment, retention, and reactivation (R3) of hunters and trappers, which initiative do you think would have the greatest impact?