The MAPLand Act, a bill supported by the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation and recently signed into law by President Biden, is a boon for those who enjoy hunting, fishing and other recreational activities.
Over the last decade, digital mapping and GPS technologies fundamentally changed how sportsmen and women cross and use federal lands. However, inconsistent and outdated record-keeping practices among federal land management agencies hindered the ability of land users to take full advantage of the technologies. Enactment of the MAPLand Act changes that.
In essence, it modernizes public lands records enabling sportsmen and women to better target access work, and helps hunters more easily discover existing access points by requiring the secretary of the Interior, secretary of Agriculture and the assistant secretary of the Army for Civil Works to digitize and make publicly available geographic information system mapping data relating to public access to federal land and waters.
It also assists land conservation and access work carried out by conservation groups like RMEF. For example, RMEF staffers will not have to spend time and resources on a project thought to be linked to landlocked public land only to later find out a federal agency had an old public easement document tucked away in a remote file cabinet.
(Photo credit: Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation)