With access to places to hunt and fish decreasing, National Wildlife Refuge System offers opportunity for sportsmen to get outdoors

A proposal by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to expand hunting and angling throughout the National Wildlife Refuge System will offer American sportsmen new opportunities to access valuable fish and wildlife habitat during a time of declining public access, the Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership announced today.

Under the proposal, which Director of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Dan Ashe says represents “one of the largest expansions of hunting and fishing opportunities on wildlife refuges in recent years,” new hunting programs will be initiated on six refuges, and existing hunting and angling programs will be expanded on another 20 refuges.

TRCP President and CEO Whit Fosburgh commended the proposal, citing the economic powerhouse that is hunting, fishing and outdoor recreation in the United States. According to a USFWS survey, more than 90 million Americans pursued wildlife-related recreation in 2011, spending more than $144 billion.

“The economic benefits provided by sportsmen and outdoor recreationists have been well documented,” said Fosburgh, “and national wildlife refuges form a critical component of this important, sustainable model through spending and employment for local economies. We applaud the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service for doing what’s best for the nation’s economy – and doing its part to uphold the outdoor traditions enjoyed by millions of Americans – in making this foresighted decision.”

Hunting and fishing can be permitted by the USFWS in areas of refuges where they are compatible with the refuge’s purpose and mission. Hunting is permitted on more than 329 wildlife refuges and fishing on more than 271 wildlife refuges.

Read the USFWS announcement.

Logo courtesy Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership

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