WASHINGTON, D.C. ― U.S. Rep. Steve Pearce introduced a bill Tuesday to increase access to public lands for hunting, fishing, and recreational shooting.
The Make Public Lands Public Act will amend the Land and Water Conservation Fund to increase public access to federal lands by maintaining and restoring existing roads, trails, and rights of way.
“In New Mexico and across the west, private, state, and federal lands are intermingled, resulting in a checkerboard issue that diminishes access to public lands for hunting, fishing, and shooting sports,” Pearce said. “These lands belong to the people, and we must ensure that sportsmen and women have the ability to participate in outdoor recreation as their parents and grandparents did before them. This bill will not only bring greater recreational enjoyment and economic growth to New Mexico, but will increase conservation efforts that are funded by these activities.”
Pearce’s bill is supported by the Boone and Crockett Club, the National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF), and the Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation (CSF).
“The Boone and Crockett Club applauds Congressman Steve Pearce’s efforts to improve public access to more public lands for hunting, fishing, and shooting sports,” Club President Ben Hollingsworth said. “Increasing access to our public lands for sportsmen and women will foster economic growth and increase jobs, while improving conservation through the fees paid by hunters and fishermen. This bill will ensure that outdoor enthusiasts will be able to enjoy public lands for generations to come.”
“The National Shooting Sports Foundation strongly supports Congressman Pearce’s legislation that would provide sportsmen and women, hunters and recreational shooters greater access to the lands they invest in to continue their traditions,” said Lawrence G. Keane, NSSF’s senior vice president and general counsel. “This legislation, along with the initiatives of Secretaries Ryan Zinke and Sonny Purdue, demonstrate the commitment Americans can expect from their government in supporting their outdoor and shooting sports heritage and preserving the ability to access public lands for future generations. We look forward to this legislation moving forward and eventually becoming law.”
“Research tells us that a lack of access to public land is one of the primary barriers to participation in hunting. Federal lands that are technically ‘open’ but inaccessible to the public, often due to the fact that the Federal lands are ‘landlocked’ by private property, contribute to this problem. We applaud Congressman Pearce for his efforts to address this issue by securing public hunting, fishing and recreational shooting access for current and future generations, and thereby truly ‘Making Public Lands Public,’” CSF President Jeff Crane said.