The Trump administration on Wednesday announced plans to expand hunting and fishing opportunities in dozens of federally protected wildlife refuges and fish hatcheries across the country in efforts to promote hunting.
The Interior Department’s plan would increase hunting and fishing access across 1.4 million acres of public land spanning on 74 national wildlife refuges.
The proposal would also allow hunting and fishing for the first time at 15 national fish hatcheries.
“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,” Interior Secretary David Bernhardt said in a press release.
“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.”
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service says it has worked closely with state governments to simplify refuge-specific hunting and fishing regulations across the U.S.
“Well-managed hunting and fishing are the backbone of conservation in this country, but inconsistent or overly complex regulations can act as a disincentive,” said Fish and Wildlife Service principal deputy director Margaret Everson. “By aligning our refuge regulations with our state partners, we are reducing confusion and the regulatory burden on the American public, helping ensure the tradition and benefits of hunting and fishing can continue.”
The Fish and Wildlife Service will seek comments from the public for 45 days regarding the proposal.