U.S. Sens. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, and Joe Manchin, D-West Virginia, today reintroduced an updated version of their legislation to ensure the rights of recreational hunters, fishermen, and shooters on Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and U.S. Forest Service lands.
"Protecting the rights of recreational hunters, fisherman, and shooters has always been important to Alaskans," Sen. Murkowski said. "Our bill preserves Americans' right to enjoy their lands from repeated attempts to limit access by mandating the cooperation of federal agencies with state fish and wildlife agencies."
"Our hunting and fishing heritage -- especially in West Virginia -- is so important to who we are as a nation," said Sen. Manchin. "As an avid hunter and fisher, I have always sought to preserve and enhance the tradition of hunting that is so important to our state and its people. This bipartisan bill will make sure that America's outdoorsmen can continue to hunt and fish on our beautiful lands."
The Recreational Fishing and Hunting Heritage and Opportunities Act protects the public right to engage in recreational hunting, fishing and shooting on federal lands. It mandates that BLM and Forest Service managed lands be open to recreational hunting, fishing and shooting unless specifically closed by the agencies. The legislation does not impact the National Park System or the National Wildlife Refuge System.
The bill also supports Executive Order 13443, which directs federal land management agencies to facilitate the expansion and enhancement of hunting on federal lands, and ensures sound scientific management of wildlife and their habitat.
Rep. Dan Benishek, R-Michigan, plans to introduce companion in the U.S. House of Representatives.