Dr. Dan Benishek (MI-01) today announced his support for the "Sportsman Heritage Act" (H.R. 4089), a measure that will protect access to hunting, fishing, and recreational shooting on federal lands.
"This initiative reflects my belief that it is critical to protect the rights of sportsmen in our area. Like many in the First District, I have enjoyed hunting and fishing in Northern Michigan all of my life. I want to make sure these activities are protected for future generations of Northern Michiganders," said Dr. Benishek, an Iron River native and lifelong resident of Michigan's Upper Peninsula.
Dr. Benishek authored a component of the bill that would create an "open until closed" policy for sportsmens' use of federal land and would block environmentalist groups from limiting hunting, fishing and shooting on America's federal properties. The legislation would limit these threats to sportsmens' access by directing federal agencies to exercise their land management discretion to facilitate these activities, subject to other applicable laws.
"There are few things in life I enjoy more than going grouse hunting at my camp in the Ottawa National Forest, or trout fishing in the Paint River. Hunting, fishing, and shooting sports are an important part of Northern Michigan's heritage and access to these activities needs to be protected," added Dr. Benishek, who serves on the House Committee on Natural Resources.
The initiative to protect sportsmen rights on federal lands is supported by organizations such as the U.S. Sportsmen's Alliance, National Rifle Association, Safari Club International, Congressional Sportsmen's Foundation, and the American Sportfishing Association.
Title I of the bill contains language of legislation Dr. Benishek authored in September of 2011. The "Sportsman Heritage Act" is scheduled for a vote in the House of Representatives on April 17, 2012.