A recent Congressional report concluded that more than 35 million acres of land owned by the USFS and USBLM have inadequate access for sportsmen and women. This new legislation directs managers to facilitate recreational fishing and hunting on public lands and waters. With respect to the agencies' land management plans, the bill directs managers to evaluate how traditional outdoor activities will be impacted by the implementation of new regulations, management plans or land use initiatives.
Recreation is the single largest economic output of national forests and grasslands, with 46.5 million anglers spending over $1.2 billion annually to enjoy recreational fishing on USFS lands.
The Recreational Fishing and Hunting Heritage and Opportunities Act directs the USFS and USBLM managers to not only promote recreational fishing and hunting access, but to further take advantage of one of the biggest economic drivers for the agencies.
While the bill does not directly open federal land to recreational fishing and hunting, by directing managers to operate federal lands as "open-until-closed," overall access will increase significantly. This legislation is expected to encourage recreational fishing, hunting and the shooting sports on public lands and waters and increase participation in these past-times.
It's about time!