September 5, 2013

National Wildlife Refuge System Releases Draft Strategic Plan for Outdoor Recreation

Since the fall of 2010, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) has been working to create a renewed vision for the National Wildlife Refuge System (NWRS). Finalized in October of 2011, the new vision, titled “Conserving the Future: Wildlife Refuges and the Next Generation,” includes 24 recommendations, which incorporated extensive suggestions from the public, nongovernmental organizations, state wildlife agencies, and employees of the Service. The Service is currently working to develop strategic plans in order to implement these recommendations. Implementation is expected to be largely completed in about five years.

Currently, the Service is soliciting public comment of a draft strategy on hunting and fishing developed by the National Wildlife Refuge System in accordance with Recommendation 17 of “Conserving the Future.” Recommendation 17 states the Service will work closely with state fish and wildlife agencies to conduct a review of its current hunting and fishing opportunities, especially opportunities currently offered for youth and people with disabilities. Based on this review, the Service and states will work cooperatively to prepare a strategy for increasing quality hunting and fishing opportunities on national wildlife refuges. The draft recommendation is available for public comment from July 2, 2013 – September 15, 2013 at

CSF staff has reviewed the draft strategic plan and will work with the Sport Fish Boating Partnership Council and the Wildlife Hunting Heritage Conservation Council to submit comments on Recommendation 17 to ensure hunting and recreational fishing opportunities are protected and advanced in the NWRS.

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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