‘Hunting and fishing are a part of our American history’
The great outdoors just got a little grander.
The Trump administration has opened and expanded more than 850 hunting and fishing opportunities across 2.3 million public acres, touted as the largest historic expansion of its kind.
The Interior Department announced the news on Tuesday, confirming the new recreational access at 138 national wildlife refuges and 9 national fish hatcheries, marking the “single largest” expansion of such opportunities by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in agency history.
“On the heels of President Trump signing the most significant conservation and recreation funding in U.S. history, providing nearly $20 billion over the next 10 years to fix and conserve the American people’s public lands, the Trump administration has now made an additional 2.3 million acres accessible to new hunting and fishing opportunities,” U.S. Interior Secretary David Bernhardt said in a statement. “We continue to take significant actions to further conservation initiatives and support sportsmen and women who are America’s true conservationists.”
Director of the Fish and Wildlife Services Aurelia Skipwith praised the Trump administration and Bernhardt for prioritizing outdoor recreation for the public since “day one.”
“Hunting and fishing are a part of our American history, and we continue to ensure we provide opportunities for these activities which epitomize our American heritage,” Skipwith said. “Furthermore, we have maintained our commitment to promoting good government by reducing the regulatory burden by working with states to facilitate these outdoor activities.”
Defining an “opportunity” as one species, on one field station, in one state, the department explained that the final rule opens or expands 859 hunting and fishing opportunities. Coupled with last year’s expansion of 1.4 million acres, the proposal would boost the Trump administration’s total expansion of lands for new or expanded hunting and fishing opportunities to over 4 million acres across the country.
Notable updates include expanded recreation at Everglades Headwaters National Wildlife Refuge in Florida, Bamforth National Wildlife Refuge in Wyoming and Jordan River National Fish Hatchery in Michigan, among others.
Outdoor enthusiasts in America generated almost $1 billion in excise taxes last year, further supporting important state conservation programs, the department said.
Author: Janine Puhak