What They Are Saying – Historic 1.4M Acre Expansion for Hunting and Fishing Opportunities

Last edited 09/04/2019

Date: September 3, 2019
Contact: Interior_Press@ios.doi.gov

WASHINGTON- U.S. Secretary of the Interior David Bernhardt recently announced new hunting and fishing opportunities on more than 1.4 million acres nationwide at 77 National Wildlife Refuges and 15 National Fish Hatcheries. A copy of the final rule and a complete list of all of the refuges and hatcheries are available online.


“Two of the best things about Louisiana are hunting and fishing. Louisiana is known as the sportsman’s paradise and attracts avid hunters and fishermen from around the world. This new rule will give sportsmen access to several additional wildlife refuges around the state and bolster our hunting and fishing industry.” – U.S. Senator John Kennedy (R-LA)

“Hunters and fishermen were our first conservationists, and I applaud the Trump Administration for expanding hunting and fishing access across the nation.  Those closest to the land tend to care most about it, and reducing federal regulations to free up our states to better manage public lands is a step in the right direction.  Thank you Secretary Bernhardt for your diligence in making our public lands truly public.” – Rep. Bradley Byrne (R-AL-01)

“Public lands are for public use. Expanding access for sportsmen and anglers is a huge victory to those of us who recreate on America’s public lands. It’s refreshing to see a Department of the Interior laser-focused on making government work for the people it serves.” – Rep. Paul Gosar (R-AZ-04)

“Hunting and fishing have deep roots in Southern Minnesota. I am pleased to see the Department of Interior expand access to hunting and fishing in America. Not only will this provide opportunity for sportsmen and women across the country, but will also aid in the conservation of our lands and waters. This is a victory for outdoor recreation that will see positive impacts on generations to come.” – Rep. Jim Hagedorn (R-MN-01)

“Expanding public access to our federal lands has been a pillar of the Department of Interior’s mission under the Trump Administration – and one that I fully support. Secretary Bernhardt’s decision to open more than 1.4 million acres to hunting and fishing is welcome news for sportsmen and outdoor enthusiasts across the country. This new rule more closely matches the regulations that the states themselves have established, and that’s how it should be. I thank the Administration for their efforts to expand the public‘s access to their public lands, and I’ll continue working to assist them in any way possible.” – Rep. Doug LaMalfa (R-CA-01)

“Washington is home to thousands of recreationists who take pride in the hunting and fishing opportunities our beautiful state offers. This announcement by Secretary Bernhardt and U.S. Fish and Wildlife is welcomed by the sportsmen and fishermen of Central Washington who will responsibly enjoy this expanded access to our public lands.” – Rep. Dan Newhouse (R-WA-04)

“Outdoor recreational activities are important to Wisconsin. This is great news for our state’s fishermen. Expanded opportunities will allow Wisconsinites to continue to enjoy these cherished traditions.” – Rep. Bryan Steil (R-WI-01)

“Updating the USFWS hunting and sport fishing regulations will increase access for America’s hunters and fishers. I appreciate Sec. Bernhardt and his team for their hard work!” – Rep. Chris Stewart (R-UT-02)

“Like so many Arkansans, hunting and fishing plays a huge role in my life. Our public lands are for public access and use, and I am glad to see the Trump administration and Secretary Bernhardt continuing to expand sportsmen’s access nationwide. I hope their work inspires future generations to take part in conserving our nation’s wonderful resources.” – Rep. Bruce Westerman (R-AR-04)


“Ducks Unlimited is, and always has been, a strong supporter of public access for hunting, fishing and recreation,” said Ducks Unlimited CEO Adam Putnam. “The Secretary’s announcement that more than 1.4 million acres on 74 national wildlife refuges and 15 national fish hatcheries will be opened for public hunting and fishing is a great start to more access for all outdoorsmen and women. It’s a known fact that public access is one of the most limiting factors related to hunting, and this rule is essential to retaining hunters and recruiting the next generation of conservationists. We appreciate the Secretary’s leadership in opening more lands for public access, and look forward to working with the Department of the Interior on additional conservation priorities.” – Adam Putnam, CEO, Ducks Unlimited

“Having public access to quality places to hunt and fish is a perennial challenge, and as an outdoorsman Secretary Bernhardt understands this challenge. We greatly appreciate his leadership in seeking solutions that will open up more access to national wildlife refuges through DOI’s new hunting and fishing rule. In particular, big game hunters in the West will now have expanded access to the Cibola National Wildlife Refuge in Arizona, McKay Creek NWR in Oregon, and Seedskadee NWR in Wyoming along with others. Improved access will help to recruit, retain and reactivate hunters which is good for conservation across the country.” – Miles Moretti, President and CEO, Mule Deer Foundation

“The Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation applauds Secretary Bernhardt for his efforts to expand hunting and fishing opportunities within the National Wildlife Refuge System. This announcement builds off momentum generated over the last few years through Interior Secretarial Orders, and advances recent recommendations submitted by the Hunting and Shooting Sports Conservation Council to increase hunter and angler access to federal lands and waters, including the Refuge System.” –  Jeff Crane, President, Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation

“The Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies applauds the Department of the Interior’s efforts to expand access for regulated hunting and fishing opportunities within the National Wildlife Refuge System and the National Fish Hatchery System. In partnership with state fish and wildlife agencies, we are working to create great opportunities for people to get outside to enjoy the lands and waters, and fish and wildlife resources, of our great nation. With the concerted effort between the states and the federal properties to mesh regulations and seasons, it will become easier than ever for the public to enjoy these very special places.” – Ed Carter, President, Association of Fish & Wildlife Agencies (AFWA)

“The Interior Department’s actions to significantly increase access for hunters and anglers at the nation’s refuges and hatcheries are critical for wildlife management and ensuring Americans have ample opportunities to enjoy these time honored traditions. RMEF thanks Secretary Bernhardt for his commitment to improving and increasing public access to public lands for sportsmen and women.” –  R Kyle Weaver, President and  CEO, Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation


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