On December 10, the Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation (CSF) partnered with the National Wild Turkey Federation (NWTF) to submit official comments on two separate proposals that would significantly expand military training ranges in Nevada. Both proposals, if approved, would transfer hundreds of thousands of acres from the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) to the Navy and Air Force – much of which would be closed to public access, including access for Nevada’s sportsmen and women.
The Fallon Range Training Complex (FRTC) Modernization proposes the withdrawal of 604,789 acres of public land – more than half (390,545 acres) of which will be closed to the public. In the comments, CSF and NWTF highlighted the effect that the proposed expansion would have on both sportsmen’s access to hunting as well as conservation efforts in Nevada.
Under the current proposal, as much as 13 percent of Nevada’s desert bighorn sheep population would no longer be accessible for harvest by the state’s more than 160,000 sportsmen and women. Through the American System of Conservation Funding, the sale of hunting licenses and outdoor gear is an important source of revenue for the Nevada Department of Wildlife (NDOW), and loss of access to hunting could mean fewer dollars for conservation in the state.
In comments submitted to Nellis Air Force Base (NAFB), CSF and NWTF outlined similar concerns. Located in the southeastern part of the state, NAFB has also proposed to expand the Nevada Test and Training Range (NTTR) by over 300,000 acres – of which a significant portion would come from the Desert National Wildlife Refuge. Through cooperation between NDOW and the Department of Defense (DOD), sportsmen and women have been allowed limited access to portions of the NTTR. CSF and NWTF encouraged the DOD to continue this program wherever possible in the proposed expansion.
The public scoping period for both projects is now complete, and a draft Environmental Impact Statement review period is expected in early 2018.
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?