Last week, the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) and U.S. Department of Interior agreed to release funding sequestered from the Wildlife Restoration, Sport Fish Restoration and Boating Safety Trust Funds to the states. Money for the Trust Funds is derived from excise taxes levied on motorboat fuel and hunting and fishing equipment and then are distributed back to the states to pay for projects and programs important to outdoor recreation activities.
In bipartisan fashion last October, CSC Co-Chair Senator John Thune and CSC Vice-Chairs Senators Mark Pryor and James Risch joined CSC CO-Chair Senator Kay Hagan in sending a letter to OMB Director Sylvia Burwell to release sequestered sportsmen trust funds.
The trust funds are the foundation of the unique American System of Conservation Funding, a “user pays-public benefits” program. This user-pays funding strategy has produced numerous public benefits including: abundant fish and wildlife populations, access to public lands and clean waters, improved fish and wildlife habitat, improved soil and water conservation, shooting ranges, and boating access facilities.
Jeff Crane, President of the Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation (CSF) praised the Senate CSC leadership for their continued bipartisan support. “We salute the bipartisan leadership of the Congressional Sportsmen’s Caucus for once again standing up in support of hunters and anglers. These dedicated trust funds form the financial backbone of the most successful conservation story in history, and to release them back to the state wildlife agencies where they belong is simply the right thing to do.”
In March 2013, CSF, along with 44 organizations representing millions of hunters, anglers and other conservationists, sent a letter to House and Senate leadership requesting assistance in exempting the Wildlife and Sport Fish Restoration and Boating Safety Trust Funds from the Budget Sequestration Act of 2011.
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?