Proposal seeks to increase hunting, fishing access on 1.4 million acres
09 June, 2019, 06:56 | Author: Darnell Taylor
"These refuges and hatcheries provide incredible opportunities for sportsmen and women and their families across the country to pass on fishing and hunting to future generations and connect with wildlife", Secretary Bernhardt said.
Under the proposed expansion at sites in 46 states, the number of wildlife refuges where hunting would be allowed would increase by five to 382 while fishing would be allowed at 316 locations.
Lack of access to hunting and fishing sites is one of the most common reasons people don't begin those activities, Bernhardt said.
"President Trump is committed to expanding public access on public lands, and this proposal is executing on that directive by opening and increasing more access to hunting and fishing by the Fish and Wildlife Service at more stations and across more acres than ever before", said Secretary Bernhardt. Those priorities include hunting, fishing, wildlife observation, photography, and environmental education and interpretation. At the Leadville National Fish Hatchery southwest of Denver, hunting of duck, grouse, elk and mule deer would be allowed for the first time.
One of the new refuges where hunting and fishing would be allowed is Green Bay National Wildlife Refuge in Wisconsin.
Mark Salvo, vice president of landscape conservation for the nonprofit Defenders of Wildlife, said the push to expand fishing and hunting in refuges is not by itself alarming.
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For more than 145 years, the National Fish Hatchery System has worked collaboratively with tribes, states, landowners, partners and stakeholders to promote and maintain healthy, self-sustaining populations of fish and other aquatic species.
In response to comments like these, FWS said federal law allows hunting on a refuge "after rigorous examination of the available information" by the refuge manager, including the development of a conservation plan.
Delevan National Wildlife Refuge: Open to wild turkey hunting for the first time on 1,696 acres already open to other hunting.
When the Fish and Wildlife Service took comments on last year's proposal, some argued against allowing hunting on these federal lands. Fishing is now permitted on 278 wildlife refuges and 34 wetland management districts.
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