Contact: Aoibheann Cline, Western States Coordinator
The sportsmen’s community is celebrating last week’s decision by the California Senate Appropriations Committee to hold Assembly Bill (AB) 3030 for the remainder of session. AB 3030 posed a serious threat to access for hunting, fishing and outdoor recreation.
AB 3030 aimed to protect 30 percent of California’s lands and waters by 2030 without clearly stating what it meant by “protect,” what areas were already considered protected in the state, and how the bill would protect additional lands and waters. The unwillingness of the environmental sponsors of the bill to clearly identify hunting and angling as compatible uses in conservation zones was problematic and ultimately forced the recreational community to oppose the bill. The ambiguity around “protection” in AB 3030 drew sweeping opposition from a variety of sectors including real estate, agriculture, forestry, local government, and water districts, outdoor industries and hundreds of individuals, to name a few.
The AB 3030 effort was truly a collective sportsmen’s community win. The diversity and breadth of the sportsmen’s coalition that fought for hunters’ and anglers’ rights was impressive and encouraging to see many partners band together to ensure bad sportsmen’s policy did not have the opportunity to be enacted again in California.
Protecting 30 percent of lands and waters is a global initiative known as “30×30,” and it is being discussed at the national and state level in America. The sportsmen’s community intends to continue our conversations with proponents of 30×30 to ensure safeguards for hunting and fishing as a sustainable use of our public natural resources for outdoor recreation in California and everywhere else this policy is contemplated.
Hunters and anglers are America’s original conservationists who contribute hundreds of millions of dollars to land and water conservation and education programs each year, and have repeatedly supported, if not advocated, implementing necessary restrictions to conserve our treasured natural resources.
The United States is a global leader in conservation, thanks in large part to the sportsmen’s community, and no one is better equipped to manage our natural resources than our state fish and wildlife agencies. We can continue leading the globe in ensuring professional natural resource management while also ensuring hunting, fishing and outdoor recreation will be available to all for generations to come.
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?