Sportsmen’s federal land access bill on its way to House floor

One of the hallmark issues for Michigan United Conservation Clubs has been and continues to be access to our public lands for the purposes of recreational hunting, fishing, trapping, and shooting.
Michigan’s own Congressman Dr. Dan Benishek (MI-1) has taken this concept and, together with the support of his colleagues in Congress and national sportsman’s interest groups, sponsored H.R. 2834 that recently passed the Natural Resources Committee and on its way to the House floor. The bill would ensure planning on federal lands must include opportunities to engage in recreational fishing, hunting, and sport shooting.
The title of H.R. 2834 say it all – “to recognize the heritage of recreational fishing, hunting, and shooting on Federal public lands and ensure continued opportunities for these activities.”  The bill recognizes that diminishing opportunities to recreationally fish, hunt, and shoot has an adverse effect on the number of participating sportsmen and women, and consequently an adverse effect on fish and wildlife conservation funding (you know, that $25 million Pittman-Robertson issue we keep beating you over the head with).
To quickly summarize, HR 2834 requires federal land management officials, working with state fish and game administrators, to use their authority to provide for the use of and access to federal public lands and waters for recreational fishing, hunting, and sport shooting. (Don’t worry trappers, you are in there under the definition of hunting!)
Lands that will be affected by this bill to be kept open include lands under the jurisdiction of the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS), including lands designated as Wilderness, and primitive or semi-primitive areas. National Parks and Wildlife Refuges (already governed by a 1997 act) are excluded.
MUCC has worked closely with the U.S. Sportsmen’s Alliance (USSA) to urge the passage of HR 2834 and will continue to do so. Michigan has already seen its share of attempts to block or restrict hunting, fishing, and shooting from federal public lands in Michigan, including the current saga of the Huron-Manistee National Forest plan.
The passage of HR 2834 should help to prevent these issues in the future.
You can thank Congressman Benishek and show your support for HR 2834 by clicking here.
MUCC will continue to follow this bill as it winds its way through the labyrinths and halls that is our Congress. Stay tuned!

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