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NWF On Passage of Sportsmen’s Access Act Out of the Senate Energy & Natural Resources Committee

NWF welcomes passage of the Sportsmen’s Act, S. 733, by the Senate Energy and Natural Resource Committee

WASHINGTON – The National Wildlife Federation welcomes passage of the Sportsmen’s Act, S. 733, by the Senate Energy and Natural Resource Committee, on March 30 – just three days after the bill was introduced. It can now be considered by the full U.S. Senate.

Collin O’Mara, president and chief executive officer of the National Wildlife Federation, said today: 

“If we want more Americans to experience nature and care about wildlife, we need expand access to America’s unrivaled outdoor heritage—and that’s exactly what the Sportsmen’s Act does. By increasing access for all conservationists—hunters, anglers, recreational shooters, campers, hikers, wildlife watchers—to America’s public lands, we will remove barriers to recruiting and retaining the next generation of hunters and anglers – and all of the conservation funding, volunteerism, and support they bring to the table. The National Wildlife Federation thanks Senators Murkowski, Heinrich, Risch, Manchin, Heitkamp and Fischer for their quick work to move a bill addressing the access needs of sportsmen.“

Bipartisan sportsmen acts introduced in recent Congresses have come close to passage but never became law. Congress is overdue to pass a bill that specifically addresses the needs of hunters and anglers. This bill is designed to address one of the primary complains of sportsmen and would-be sportsmen – a lack of access to enough places to hunt, fish, and shoot. It includes the following provisions:

A declaration of national policy that federal agencies will facilitate hunting, fishing, and recreational shooting on public lands.
A requirement that national forests and Bureau of Land Management lands will remain open to hunting, fishing, and recreational shooting unless closed for good cause.
A program to provide better public access to inaccessible parts of our public lands.
Permanently reestablishes a western "land exchange" program to use sale proceeds from Bureau of Land Management disposal lands for high priority conservation and public access lands.
Formalizes the Wildlife Hunting Heritage and Conservation Council, which advises the Secretaries of Interior and Agriculture on wildlife and habitat conservation, hunting, and recreational shooting.
Authorization for agencies to permit shooting ranges on non-conservation public lands.
New ways to fund public shooting ranges, which are in short supply in many areas.
Allows the Secretary of Interior to call on volunteer hunters to help when it is necessary to reduce a wildlife population in a national park.
Allows bows and crossbows to be safely carried through national parks.
A program to provide the public with more information about federal lawsuits.
Language that makes it easier to film on public lands.

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