Contact: Brent Miller, Senior Director, Northeastern States and States Program Administrator
On October 24, the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) issued a press release stating that it had recently been transferred a 525-acre parcel of land, creating the Clear Lake Wildlife Management Area (WMA). For the Empire State’s sportsmen and women, who spend $4.95 billion annually in their pursuits, this announcement signals an increase in both access and opportunities for their enjoyment.
Prior to this acquisition, all 525 acres had been sitting unused and under the jurisdiction of the New York State Office of Mental Health. Going forward, the management of Clear Lake WMA – which, as the press release stated, “Offers hunting, fishing, trapping, wildlife viewing, and other recreational opportunities” – will fall under the DEC’s authority.
Through the American System of Conservation Funding – a “user pays – public benefits” approach, which is widely recognized as the most successful funding structure for fish and wildlife management in the world – sportsmen and women provide the lion’s share of conservation funding across the nation. Citing this crucial role, the DEC explained, “Clear Lake WMA will be maintained by federal funding from the Pittman Robertson Act, now known as Federal Aid in Wildlife Restoration, which apportions revenues generated from the excise taxes on the sale of firearms, ammunition and archery equipment to state wildlife agencies for conservation efforts and hunter education programs.”
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?