Backcountry Hunters & Anglers has consistently supported the expansion of public hunting and fishing access on National Wildlife Refuge System lands and waters across the United States. Since passage of the 1997 National Wildlife Refuge Improvement Act, which resulted in hunting, fishing and other wildlife-dependent recreation being recognized as priority recreational uses on refuges, state fish and wildlife agencies and refuge managers have been working together, through an open public process, to identify and expand new hunting and fishing access opportunities across the U.S.
Hunters and anglers have long driven both funding and support for establishment of refuges within the National Wildlife Refuge System. Hunting and angling organizations like BHA have backed this advocacy work up by organizing countless volunteer-driven wildlife habitat stewardship projects on refuges across the U.S.
In addition, BHA works to support the expansion of new hunting and fishing opportunity on U.S. Fish and Wildlife Refuges - for many years and across multiple administrations. We remain committed to continuing to work with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and other administration officials to expand public hunting and fishing access on refuges, where local wildlife professionals identify new opportunities that are compatible with other wildlife management and conservation goals. A lawsuit filed last fall by the Center for Biological Diversity against the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service threatens the longstanding, bipartisan tradition of the FWS expanding public hunting and fishing access on our public lands. The threats that this lawsuit poses to thoughtful wildlife management models, along with BHA’s concerns, were reported on by both Field & Stream and Outdoor Life.
We call on the Biden administration to continue its work expanding public hunting and fishing access on our National Wildlife Refuge System. We are ready to help defend actions and decisions already made as we move these efforts forward together.