The Trump administration has proposed increasing access to public lands for the expansion of hunting and fishing. The U.S. Secretary of the Interior, David Bernhardt announced on Wednesday that 1.4 million acres would be opened at 74 national wildlife refuges and 15 national fish hatcheries managed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to grant public access for “traditional pastimes.”
“President Trump is committed to expanding public access on public lands, and this proposal is executing on that directive by opening and increasing more access to hunting and fishing by the Fish and Wildlife Service at more stations and across more acres than ever before,” Bernhardt stated.
“Hunting and fishing are more than just traditional pastimes as they are also vital to the conservation of our lands and waters, our outdoor recreation economy, and our American way of life. These refuges and hatcheries provide incredible opportunities for sportsmen and women and their families across the country to pass on a fishing and hunting heritage to future generations and connect with wildlife.”
According to the NY Times, the proposed expansion would affect now protected wildlife parks in 46 states; the number of wildlife refuges where hunting would be allowed would increase by five to 382 while fishing would be allowed at 316 locations. Green Bay National Wildlife Refuge in Wisconsin would allow hunting and fishing for the first time as would Seedskadee National Wildlife Refuge be opened to allow deer and elk hunting.
In May, the United Nations released the, with findings that state more than one million species of plants and animals are at risk of extinction. The reports found that over fishing have become one of the five main ways people are reducing biodiversity.
Trump has continued to roll back Obama-era conservation policies. Plans for walls have been proposed for 100 miles at the southern border of California and Arizona – directly through a national monument and a wildlife refuge.
Last summer, proposals were introduced to reduce the amount of wetlands under federal protection which are vital to the nation’s clean water quality supply.
Make your opinions heard. The Fish and Wildlife Service will accept comments from the public for 45 days for the proposed plan. Share this with your friends and neighbors.
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