- Last week, the Senate Energy and Natural Resources voted to unanimously pass America’s Outdoor Recreation Act (S. 3266), a bill strongly supported by the Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation (CSF).
- The America’s 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 (WY), 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, and in advance of the vote last week, urged CSC Members on the Committee to vote favorably on the bill.
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 passed the CSF supported America’s Outdoor Recreation Act of 2022 on a unanimous vote, a sign of the widespread for this legislation.
After years of coordination with the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, the America’s Outdoor Recreation Act includes language that requires the U.S. Forest Service and the Bureau of Land Management to ensure that each of their respective districts has at least one public target shooting range. Not only does this provision recognize CSF’s efforts to promote recreational shooting, but it also recognizes the important role played by America’s 32 million recreational target shooters who are the backbone of state wildlife conservation funding.
The America’s 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.
Furthermore, this legislation includes language that will help improve future federal land agency planning decisions and would enhance user planning efforts for the general public. Specifically, the Improved Recreation Visitation Data section directs certain federal land management agencies to capture various recreation visitation data. This section also establishes a real-time data pilot program to make available to the public real-time or predictive visitation data for federal lands, helping sportsmen and women with their trip planning efforts.
The Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation applauds CSC Vice Chair Sen. Manchin and CSC Member Sen. Barrasso for leading the America’s Outdoor Recreation Act and applauds the Energy and Natural Resources Committee for recognizing the importance of this bill with a unanimous vote.
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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%)