Why it matters: Digital mapping and GPS technologies have fundamentally changed how sportsmen and women traverse federal lands. However, inconsistent, and outdated record keeping practices amongst federal land management agencies hinders the ability of sportsmen and women to fully take advantage of these technologies, which will be addressed in part by the MAPLand Act. The enactment of the MAPLand Act is a significant win for America’s sportsmen and women.
On Friday, April 29, President Biden signed the Modernizing Access to Our Public Land Act into law, delivering another victory to the Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation (CSF).
Over the last few years, CSF and partners such as the Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership have been urging Congress to passage the MAPLand Act to increase access opportunities for sportsmen and women. As a result of these efforts by CSF, the MAPLand Act passed the House on an overwhelming vote of 414 – 9 in late March, and in early April, the Senate cleared the bill unanimously.
GPS and other digital mapping technologies have provided sportsmen and women the opportunity to better plan and map out their hunting, fishing, trapping, and recreational shooting trips on public lands and water. However, inconsistent mapping information, unclear information, and the lack of easily accessible public land mapping information can make it difficult for sportsmen and women to fully utilize these GPS technologies. Fortunately, the MAPLand Act will help resolve this issue to make public land mapping information more accessible for sportsmen and women.
The MAPLand Act authorizes much needed financial resources over three years for the Secretaries of the Interior, Agriculture, and Army to accelerate the modernization and digitization of public land mapping information. The MAPLand Act also requires that public land management agencies make their information publicly available on their respective websites to be easily accessible by the public.
Now that the MAPLand Act has been signed into law, CSF and partners are working to secure appropriated funding for the law to ensure the goals of the legislation are carried out in a timely manner.
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?