- Tomorrow, the Senate Energy and Natural Resources will hold a business meeting to vote on the Outdoor Recreation Act (S. 3266).
- The Outdoor Recreation Act is a bipartisan bill led by Congressional Sportsmen’s Caucus (CSC) Vice Chair Senator Joe Manchin (WV) and CSC Member John Barrasso, who respectively serve as the Chair and Ranking Member of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee.
- In December, CSF submitted a statement for the record in strong support of the Outdoor Recreation Act.
Why it matters: Our nation’s vast network of federal public lands and water provide significant recreational opportunities for America’s sportsmen and women. The Outdoor Recreation Act recognizes the importance of federal public lands for sportsmen and women by seeking to increase public access, modernize public land visitation data, and conserve important water systems for anglers and boaters.
On Tuesday, May 3, the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee is scheduled to vote on the Outdoor Recreation Act, a bill strongly supported by the Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation (CSF).
The Outdoor Recreation Act includes language that CSF has been working on for years that would help increase access opportunities for recreational shooters on lands managed by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and the U.S. Forest Service (USFS). Specifically, the Outdoor Recreation Act would require BLM and the USFS to ensure that each of their respective districts has at least one public target shooting range.
This provision will expand opportunities for America’s 32 million target shooters who are the backbone of state-based wildlife conservation funding. Just last year, through excise taxes on firearms, ammunition, and archery equipment, hunters and recreational shooters contributed approximately $800 million to wildlife conservation through the Pittman-Robertson Fund. Over 80% of this funding is directly attributable to recreational target shooters, who often spend even more than hunters on firearms, ammunition, and archery equipment
The Outdoor Recreation Act will also provide assistance to federal agencies to prevent the spread of aquatic invasive species, which pose a serious threat to native aquatic ecosystems and the economy. Once established, aquatic invasive species are difficult, if not impossible, to eradicate, and significant resources must be invested annually on population management. Preventing harmful introductions before they occur is the most effective means to avoid the risk aquatic nuisance species present. For example, Zebra mussels alone cause $300–$500 million annually in damages to power plants, water systems, and industrial water intakes in the Great Lakes Region.
The Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation applauds CSC Vice Chair Sen. Manchin and CSC Member Sen. Barrasso for leading the Outdoor Recreation Act and for scheduling a vote on this important legislation.
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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?Vote Here
- Increase the number of states with discounted license tailored to specific groups. (5.15%)
- Increase access to public lands. (24.89%)
- Provide more information for new participants. (4.05%)
- Provide hands on opportunities to improve skills and knowledge. (13.16%)
- Engage youth through hunter and conservation programs in schools. (42.95%)
- I feel we have enough sportsmen and women and do not believe R3 programs are necessary. (9.79%)