B.A.S.S. joined key conservation organizations in signing a Sept. 7 letter in support of a bill that would protect hunting, fishing and recreational shooting rights in national forests and on public lands administered by the U.S. Forest Service and the Bureau of Land Management.
“Unfortunately, existing law does not expressly recognize or provide for the continuation of these activities which make material contributions to fish and wildlife conservation,” the letter reads.
The letter was addressed to the chairman and ranking member of the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Natural Resources as it considered H.R. 2834, the Recreational Fishing and Hunting Heritage Opportunities Act. On Sept. 12, testimony by Bill Horn of the U.S. Sportsmen's Alliance underlined the concerns of the sporting community.
"Continued silence in the law regarding the legitimacy and contributory role of fishing and hunting on Forest and Bureau of Land Management lands will ultimately cause the loss of these activities on over 400 million acres of our public lands," Horn testified. "This silence must be corrected, and H.R. 2834 does precisely that.”
The bill seeks to mirror the sportsmen’s rights granted by passage of the 1997 Refuge Improvement Act. That law recognizes the legitimacy of hunting, fishing and recreational shooting on National Wildlife Refuge System lands, and designates fishing and hunting as priority public uses of the Refuge System.