AFFTA joined 40 hunting and fishing conservation groups on a letter to the Secretaries of Interior and Agriculture asking for improved access for fishing and hunting on our public lands by dedicating a small but important portion of the Land and Water Conservation Fund for that purpose. Here is the letter:
February 26, 2013
Dear Secretary Salazar and Secretary Vilsack:
The undersigned organizations represent millions of sportsmen conservationists across the United States who are united in seeking your help to open and improve access to public lands for recreational purposes, including hunting, fishing and recreational shooting through the continuation of “hunter and angler access” funding within the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) in FY2014. This important budget item would dedicate a very small portion of LWCF to enhancing recreational access to Federal land that is inaccessible or significantly restricted.
This line item had wide support in the 112th Congress, as it was included in both chambers’ appropriations bills, was the focus of bipartisan stand-alone legislation, the Making Public Lands Public Access Act, and was part of the larger Sportsmen’s bill, the Sportsmen’s Act of 2012, in the Senate. We appreciate that it was in the President’s budget in FY2013, which our community strongly supported. We would support the continued inclusion of this language in the President’s budget.
Nearly half of all hunters conduct a portion of their hunting activity on public lands. Lack of access is cited as the primary reason that hunters, anglers and target shooters stop participating in these traditional activities. In fact, a 2004 report to the House Appropriations Committee concluded that more than 36 million acres of USFS and BLM land have inadequate access.
Opening access to the public lands that U.S. citizens own is not only vital to preserving America’s sporting heritage, but it will also serve to benefit the economy. In 2011, sportsmen spent nearly $90 billion on their outdoor pursuits. Additionally, excise taxes on fishing, hunting, shooting equipment and motorboat fuel as well as fees for licenses and stamps are all dedicated to state fish and wildlife management programs. Coupled with the generous support of conservation organizations, this generates nearly $3 billion a year for conservation efforts.
Thank you for your consideration of this request and for your service on behalf of America’s hunting, fishing and conservation community.
American Fly Fishing Trade Association
American Sportfishing Association
Archery Trade Association
Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies
Bear Trust Alliance
Bowhunting Preservation Alliance
Berkley Conservation Institute
Boone and Crockett Club
Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation
Dallas Safari Club
Delta Waterfowl Foundation
Izaak Walton League of America
Masters of Foxhounds Association
Mule Deer Foundation
National Rifle Association
National Trappers Association
National Shooting Sports Foundation
National Wild Turkey Federation
National Wildlife Federation
North American Bear Foundation
North American Grouse Partnership
Northwest Sportfishing Industry Association
Orion, The Hunter’s Institute
Public Lands Foundation
Quality Deer Management Institute
Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation
Ruffed Grouse Society
Safari Club International
Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership
U.S. Sportsmen’s Alliance
Wild Sheep Foundation
Wildlife Management Institute