Making Public Lands Public Access Act

Summary

Lack of access to suitable lands and waters for hunting and angling is one of the most pressing issues facing American sportsmen. This act protects and enhances recreational access opportunities on federal lands.

Federal public lands are an important destination for many Americans including hunters. Nearly half of all hunters conduct a portion of their hunting activity on these lands. However, numerous reports verify access to Federal land is problematic in a number of areas. In fact, a 2004 report to the House Appropriations Committee concluded that more than 35 million acres of Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) land have inadequate access. Lack of access to hunting lands is cited as a primary reason that hunters stop participating in this traditional sport.

The Federal Lands Hunting and Shooting Sports Roundtable (Roundtable) was created through a Memorandum of Understanding signed by CSF and other organizations comprised of the AWCP, the BLM, and the USFWS. The Roundtable was created to improve partnership efforts between the agencies and the AWCP organizations to address issues impacting access to Federal lands for hunting and shooting sports activities.

CSF and its partners in the American Wildlife Conservation Partners (AWCP) requested that BLM and USFS utilize funds to improve hunter and other recreational access to Federal land and have identified opportunities in its list of funding priorities. Such opportunities have been identified as important projects by the Congress as expressed in the U.S. House Report to the FY 2010 Department of the Interior and Related Agencies Appropriations Act.

The language states that the conferees encourage the Secretaries of Agriculture and Interior to provide funding for projects that provide increased access to our federally owned public lands to provide opportunities for the public to recreate and enjoy our nation's natural resources

Moving Forward In Congress

This bill directs up to 1.5 percent or $10 million of the annual authorized Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) funding to be used for projects securing recreational public access to U.S. Department of Interior lands through easements, rights-of-way, or fee title acquisitions from willing land sellers. In July 2010, an amendment by CSC Member and former Co-Chair, Representative Ron Kind, passed overwhelmingly 404-1 and was included in the passage of H.R. 3534, the Consolidated Land, Energy, and Aquatic Resources (CLEAR) Act in the U.S. House of Representatives

Similar legislative language to that of the Kind amendment has been added in the U.S. Senate to S.3663, the “Clean Energy Jobs and Oil Company Accountability Act” sponsored by Senate Majority Leader, Senator Harry Reid, and would also direct up to $13.5 million to the LWCF fund to be apportioned for securing recreational public access. Senator Reid has vowed to schedule this bill for debate after the August recess.

Downloads

Description Download
On Tuesday, February 26, CSF and 41 other hunting and fishing conservation organizations sent a letter urging Secretaries Salazar and Vilsack to continue funding hunter and angler access projects within the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) for FY2014. Download file
Download a copy of AWCP's overview of MPLP. Download file

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