On Tuesday, April 9, Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley signed into law HB 797, which will help promote access to Maryland’s fishable waters by requiring transportation projects to consider the feasibility of providing and improving waterway access along the state’s roads and bridges. Lack of access is one of the primary reasons that lapsed anglers give when asked why they no longer participate in the sport; this bill marks a significant step forward in not only the promotion of recreational access, but also the potential recruitment and retention of anglers in Maryland.
HB 797 was introduced on February 6 by Delegate Maggie McIntosh and is cosponsored by several members of the Maryland Legislative Sportsmen’s Caucus, including: Delegates Pamela Beidle, Alfred C.Carr, Jr., Nic Kipke, Herbert McMillan, H. Wayne Norman, and Caucus Co- Chair Michael Weir, Jr. On March 25, the bill passed the Maryland House of Delegates with a strong bipartisan vote of 130-3; and passed the Senate with a unanimous vote on April 4.
This effort was supported by the Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation as well as the Maryland Legislative Sportsmen’s Foundation (the Advisory Council that works alongside the Maryland Legislative Sportsmen’s Caucus to protect and advance sportsmen’s traditions in Maryland), the American Sportfishing Association, the Chesapeake Conservancy, Maryland Bass Angler’s Sportsmen’s Society, and many other conservation organizations. For more information on the Maryland Legislative Sportsmen’s Caucus contact Brent Miller at: Brent@sportsmenslink.org.
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?