On July 23, House Congressional Sportsmen’s Caucus (CSC) leadership introduced the Sportsmen’s Conservation and Outdoor Recreation Enhancement Act (H.R. 3173), for the purpose of “enhancing hunting, fishing and other outdoor recreational opportunities.”
“With several provisions similar to those within the SHARE Act and the Bipartisan Sportsmen’s Act introduced earlier this year in the House and Senate, this pro-sportsmen’s conservation package is another step in the right direction for the enhancement of the nation’s hunting and angling opportunities, and fish and wildlife conservation,” said Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation (CSF) President Jeff Crane.
This legislation, which includes seven provisions, was introduced by CSC Co-Chair Congressman Tim Walz (MN), along with original cosponsors CSC Co-Chair Congressman Rob Wittman (VA) and CSC Vice-Chairs Congressmen Jeff Duncan (SC) and Gene Green (TX).
Provisions within H.R. 3173 will include: the National Fish Habitat Initiative Sense of Congress, the Federal Lands Transaction Facilitation Act reauthorization, the North American Wetlands Conservation Act reauthorization, the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation reauthorization, the Neotropical Migratory Bird Conservation Act reauthorization, Partners for Fish and Wildlife Program Act reauthorization, and the Making Public Lands Public authorization.
“Conservation is vital to protect our lakes, streams, rivers, and forests, as well as invigorating the outdoor economy that supports hundreds of thousands of jobs and contributes billions to our economy each year,” said Congressman Walz, author of the Sportsmen’s Conservation and Outdoor Recreation Enhancement Act. “This commonsense bill works to push forward a number of key conservation priorities which have proven to be effective and enjoy broad support amongst the millions of men and women who comprise the outdoor recreational community. I urge my colleagues to support this bipartisan measure to help conserve our natural, national treasures and push our economy forward.”
“The Bill is a responsible package of conservation policies that are critical for advancing our sporting heritage,” said Congressman Wittman. “Reauthorizing NAWCA has been a consistent priority of mine, and it is just one of the many sensible provisions in this bill that will protect critical habitat and preserve the ability of sportsmen and women to enjoy our outdoor resources for years to come.”
“As an avid outdoorsman I appreciate the Sportsmen’s Conservation and Outdoor Recreation Enhancement Act of 2015. Common sense conservation efforts that address critical aspects to protecting the interests of sportsmen and women as well as anglers across this great country are crucial steps to conserve God’s gift all around us,” said Congressman Duncan. “Many of us teach our children and grandchildren with the wealth of knowledge provided when in the outdoors. As a nation we must take steps so all can take advantage of such experiences for not only this generation, but for many yet to come.”
“The Sportsmen’s Caucus has a long and storied tradition when it comes to the conservation and protection of our natural resources for all varieties of outdoor recreation, and this bill continues that tradition. Protecting our national wetlands, facilitating the sale of BLM land to improve access and conserve high priority land purchases and continuing the successful conservation efforts for our rivers, fish and wildlife are not partisan issues,” said Congressman Green. “Protecting these national treasures for future generations is imperative, and I look forward to working with my colleagues in the CSC and the House on this pro-sportsmen’s legislation.”
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?