The U.S Fish and Wildlife Service has released a landmark publication celebrating the 75th Anniversary of the Wildlife and Sport Fish Restoration Program, the cornerstone of fish and wildlife conservation in North America.

This vital program provides more than $700 million each year through the sale of hunting and fishing equipment to support habitat conservation and outdoor recreation projects across the nation.

“All Americans, whether or not they hunt or fish, benefit from this program. There’s a good chance that the trail they hike, the park where they watch birds, and the wildlife they see every day wouldn’t exist without the funding provided by hunters and anglers,” said Assistant Director Hannibal Bolton, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.  “In addition to providing conservation benefits, Wildlife and Sport Fish Restoration funds – along with revenue from state fishing and hunting licenses – support local economies and generate thousands of jobs.”

Since its inception in 1937, the Wildlife and Sport Fish Restoration program has generated more than $14 billion, which state fish and wildlife agencies use to purchase public land, improve essential wildlife habitat and create additional outdoor opportunities for everyone.  It is funded through an excise tax on hunting- and shooting-related merchandise, fishing supplies and boat fuel. In 2011, hunters, anglers and wildlife watchers spent $145 billion on related gear, trips and other purchases such as licenses, tags, land leases and ownership.

South Dakota citizens have benefited from these federal funds on several recent projects.

  • Work on The Outdoor Campus in Rapid City
  • The Brookings Nature Park, which includes hiking and biking trails, an urban fishery, and a nature center
  • Development work on the Hill Game Production Area development in Fall River County
  • Medicine Knoll Game Production Area, development of the “Blunt Reservoir Project” into wildlife habitat and public hunting area

“The Wildlife and Sport Fish Restoration Program has been instrumental over the years in helping our agency meet our mission of managing our state’s fish and wildlife,” South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks’ Wildlife Division Director Tony Leif said. “This level of secure funding is essential as we do our long term planning for future management needs. This publication provides excellent background to help our citizens appreciate the importance of this program and funding source.”

Logo courtesy South Dakota Game, Fish, and Parks

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