U.S. Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke announced a proposal to open more than 248,000 acres to new or expanded hunting and fishing opportunities at 30 national wildlife refuges.
“As stewards of our public lands, Interior is committed to opening access wherever possible for hunting and fishing so that more families have the opportunity to pass down this American heritage,” Zinke said. “These 30 refuges will provide incredible opportunities for American sportsmen and women across the country to access the land and connect with wildlife.”
The changes would be implemented for the upcoming 2018-2019 hunting seasons. Hunting, within specified limits, is currently permitted on 337 wildlife refuges and 37 wetland management districts. Fishing is currently permitted on 277 wildlife refuges and 34 wetland management districts.
“Hunters, anglers and shooting sports enthusiasts play a crucial role in funding the management and conservation of North America’s wildlife,” said Service Principal Deputy Director Greg Sheehan. “We are providing sportsmen and women with more access to our national wildlife refuges and streamlining regulations to more closely align with our state partners. And that’s good news for our customers.”
The Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, via its Access Elk Country Initiative, is actively working to open and increase access to public land and supports additional access efforts by various partners nationwide.
Go here for more information, to provide public comment and to view a state-by-state breakdown of the affected wildlife refuges.
(Photo source: Charles M. Russell Wildlife Refuge)