Senate Bill Will Help Hunters Gain Access to Public Lands
MISSOULA, Mont.--(Ammoland.com)- Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., and Sen. Max Baucus, D-Mont., today introduced legislation that guarantees funding for improving hunter access to existing public lands.
Included within the Clean Energy Jobs and Oil Spill Accountability Act is a provision supported by the Boone and Crockett Club and other hunting organizations which directs the U.S. Department of the Interior and the U.S. Department of Agriculture to work with volunteering landowners to enhance access to existing public lands for the purposes of hunting, fishing and other recreational activities.
“Sportsmen and women want better access to their national forests and BLM lands for hunting and fishing. Sen. Harry Reid and Sen. Max Baucus are tackling this problem, head on, with this bill,” said Lowell Baier, President of the Boone and Crockett Club.
Additionally, Baier praised Reid and Baucus for “their deep commitment to enhancing outdoor recreation opportunities on our public lands.”
For the 32 million American hunters, anglers and recreational shooters, federal public lands are an increasingly vital to their participation in outdoor sports. Nearly half of all hunters, for example, conduct a portion of their hunting activity on these lands.
In addition, lack of access is cited as a primary reason that hunters, anglers and target shooters stop participating in these traditional sports. However, numerous reports verify that access to federal lands is problematic in many places. In fact, a 2004 report to the U.S. House Committee On Appropriations concluded that more than 35 million acres of U.S. Bureau of Land Management and U.S. Forest Service land have inadequate access. Specifically, nearly 2 million acres (or 10 percent) of USFS lands in Montana and 8.4 million acres (or 29 percent) of BLM lands in the Montana/Dakota's region were identified as having inadequate access.
Sportsmen and women make important contributions to both wildlife conservation and the nation's economy. The hunting and shooting sports industries create over 160,000 full-time jobs nationwide, generating an economic benefit of over $20 billion annually.
About the Boone and Crockett Club
Founded by Theodore Roosevelt in 1887, the Boone and Crockett Club promotes guardianship and visionary management of big game and associated wildlife in North America. The Club maintains the highest standards of fair-chase sportsmanship and habitat stewardship. Member accomplishments include enlarging and protecting Yellowstone and establishing Glacier and Denali national parks, founding the U.S. Forest Service, National Park Service and National Wildlife Refuge System, fostering the Pittman-Robertson and Lacey Acts, creating the Federal Duck Stamp program, and developing the cornerstones of modern game laws. The Boone and Crockett Club is headquartered in Missoula, Mont. For details, visit www.boone-crockett.org.