August 26, 2019

Department of the Interior Announces Increased Access for Sportsmen and Women

On August 21, the Department of the Interior (DOI) announced the transfer of 11,149 acres from the Western Rivers Conservancy along the John Day River in Oregon to the Bureau of Land Management (BLM).  This transfer also increases public access to 2,000 acres of public land that was previously “landlocked” by private lands and was inaccessible to the general public.

The acquisition was made possible through an $8 million allocation under the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF), which provides funding through royalties collected from offshore oil and gas development for voluntary, collaborative recreation and conservation projects on public and private lands.  Specifically, the allocated funds to complete this acquisition were made available through a line item that dedicates a portion of funds for projects that increase access for hunting, fishing, recreational shooting and other outdoor recreation that advances the goals of the Making Public Lands Public (MPLP) initiative.

Earlier this year, Congress permanently reauthorized LWCF as part of S. 47, the Dingell Act, which also included MPLP. MPLP requires that 3% or $15 million, whichever is greater, of LWCF funds be made available for securing additional public access for hunting, fishing, recreational shooting, and other outdoor recreation activities.

“The Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation applauds Secretary Bernhardt for continuing to prioritize and advance public access for America’s sportsmen and women,” said Jeff Crane, President of the Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation. “We look forward to working with the Secretary and the rest of the Department to identify other priority projects where additional public hunting, fishing, recreational shooting, and trapping opportunities can be increased or enhanced.”

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?

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