Safari Club International Champions Access for Hunting Before Congress
Washington, DC --(Ammoland.com)- On behalf of millions of American sportsmen and women, Safari Club International’s (SCI) Director of Hunter Advocacy, Melissa Simpson, testified yesterday before the House Committee on Natural Resource’s subcommittee on National Parks, Forests, and Public Lands.
Simpson provided testimony on H.R. 1581, the “Wilderness and Roadless Area Release Act of 2011” on behalf of a sportsmen’s coalition that included the National Rifle Association and the U.S. Sportsmen’s Alliance.
“H.R. 1581 would help hunters who are being denied or limited access to public lands administered by the Bureau of Land Management and the U.S. Forest Service,” Simpson says. “Currently, the Bureau and Forest Service are managing nearly 43 million acres of public land under the prohibitions of wilderness area study area policy, even though the agencies have recommended to Congress that these areas are not suitable for wilderness designation.”
The protectionist management by the two agencies severely restricts hunter access to these lands by 1) failing to authorize roads and trails that would help disabled and elderly hunters’ access hunting areas; 2) prohibiting or limiting hunters from using carts for game retrieval and; 3) reducing hunters’ ability to access lands inaccessible by existing roads and trails. Studies have shown that one of the biggest reasons for the decline in hunting participation in recent years has been the lack of access to hunting lands.
Despite opponents claims that H.R. 1581 would open affected lands to oil, gas and timber development, testimony from high level officials of the Obama Administration confirmed that, if released into multiple-use, these lands would not immediately be available for development, but would be afforded the safeguards under current land use plans and other environmental regulations. Any changes would only occur during the land use plan revision process after public and local input.
“We applaud Congress for taking the necessary steps forward to follow the agencies recommendations and put these lands into multiple-use. Unlike the current ‘one size fits all’ management of these lands, HR 1581 will allow for local communities to determine what multiple-use management is most appropriate and improve access for sportsmen.”
Safari Club International – First For Hunters is the leader in protecting the freedom to hunt and in promoting wildlife conservation worldwide. SCI’s approximately 200 Chapters represent all 50 of the United States as well as 106 other countries. SCI’s proactive leadership in a host of cooperative wildlife conservation, outdoor education and humanitarian programs, with the SCI Foundation and other conservation groups, research institutions and government agencies, empowers sportsmen to be contributing community members and participants in sound wildlife management and conservation. Visit the home www.safariclub.org or call (520) 620-1220 for more information. www.hunterdefensefund.org.
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