- Last week, the Modernizing Access to Our Public Land (MAPLand) Act, a Congressional Sportsmen's Foundation (CSF) priority, passed the House of Representatives on an impressive vote of 414 – 9.
- H.R. 3113, the MAPLand Act, was introduced in a bipartisan fashion in May of 2021 by Congressional Sportsmen’s Caucus (CSC) Member Rep. Blake Moore (UT) and Reps. Russ Fulcher (ID), Joe Neguse (CO), and Kim Schrier (WA) with the goal of providing more certainty and valuable information to public land users.
Why it matters: Digital mapping and GPS technologies have fundamentally changed how sportsmen and women traverse federal lands. However, inconsistent and outdated record keeping practices amongst federal land management agencies hinder the ability of sportsmen and women to fully take advantage of these technologies, which will be addressed in part by the MAPLand Act. The House passage of the MAPLand Act marks the furthest this common-sense legislation has progressed through the legislative process.
Last week, the House of Representatives voted to pass the Modernizing Access to our Public Land Act on an impressive vote of 414 – 9.
For the last few years, CSF and partners such as the Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership have been strongly advocating for the passage of the MAPLand Act. Prior to the floor vote, CSF sent an action alert to Members of the Congressional Sportsmen’s Caucus urging a favorable vote on this important piece of legislation that is championed by Congressional Sportsmen’s Caucus Member Congressman Blake Moore (UT), among others.
Millions of America’s hunters, anglers, and recreational shooters rely on public lands and waters for recreation. Before planning a trip to a new area, any sportsmen and women can attest to the fact they spend countless hours glossing over maps on their computers or their handheld devices to get a better idea of the land or waterscape. However, a lack of clear and publicly available information often deters sportsmen and women from recreating on a given piece of public land.
Furthermore, for many land management agencies much of the information is still held in paper format, which is concerning as easements and rights-of-way information could be lost in perpetuity if proper documentation is lost or destroyed. For example, it is estimated the U.S. Forest has only digitized roughly 5,000 of their 37,000 recorded easements. Unfortunately, federal land management agencies most important to sportsmen and women, including the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Bureau of Land Management, and the U.S. Forest, lack the necessary financial resources to digitize and modernize mapping information for the lands they manage.
In order to fill this void, the MAPLand Act will authorize much needed financial resources over three years for the Secretaries of the Interior, Agriculture, and Army to accelerate the modernization and digitization of public land mapping information. The MAPLand Act also requires that public land management agencies make their information publicly available on their respective websites to be easily accessible by the public.
The bill now awaits consideration by the Senate where a similar companion bill has already passed the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee under a voice vote, a sign of the strong bipartisan support for this 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. (5.94%)
- Increase access to public lands. (24.89%)
- Provide more information for new participants. (4.00%)
- Provide hands on opportunities to improve skills and knowledge. (13.13%)
- Engage youth through hunter and conservation programs in schools. (42.90%)
- I feel we have enough sportsmen and women and do not believe R3 programs are necessary. (9.13%)