Louisiana Legislature to Weigh Public Waters Access Bill

News for Immediate Release
March 22, 2018
Contact: Katie McKalip, 406-240-9262,
mckalip@backcountryhunters.org

 

Louisiana Legislature to Weigh Public Waters Access Bill

Legislation could guarantee public access to some tidal waters

located above private water bottoms 

BATON ROUGE, La. – Tomorrow morning, the Louisiana legislature will take up consideration of a bill that could codify the public’s ability to access certain waters in the state for fishing, hunting and other recreational uses.

The Southeast chapter of Backcountry Hunters & Anglers strongly supports efforts to thoughtfully enhance public access for hunting and fishing in Louisiana. The decision to convene a hearing for House Bill 391 by the House Civil Law and Procedure Committee is welcome progress for hunters and anglers in the state who want more certainty for public access to some tidal waters located above private water bottoms. While amendments improving the legislation are rumored, the spirit of the bill has drawn a generally positive response from public lands hunters and anglers in the state as well as users such as charter boat captains, whose livelihoods – and correspondingly Louisiana’s recreation-based economy – rely on adequate and continued access to tidal waters and waterways.

BHA Southeast Chapter Board Member Mark Seghers called H.B. 391 “a step in the right direction.”

“Louisiana’s landscape is constantly evolving, said Seghers, who lives in Jefferson Parish, “and as the landscape evolves, it comes under increasing pressure from hunters, anglers and other users. H.B. 391 is a step in the right direction as our state works to strike a healthy, productive balance between the interests of landowners and sportsmen.”

“We appreciate the attention to public access to waters for hunting and fishing, and we commend elected leaders working to develop solutions where problems exist,” said BHA Conservation Director John Gale. “It’s important that stakeholders unite and collaborate with decision makers to ensure that our traditions and heritage on the water are prioritized for future generations. Balancing the public’s needs while respecting private lands is essential to protecting hunting and fishing in Louisiana.

“The issue of public access is too important not to get this right,” continued Gale. “We must craft thoughtful solutions, both in Louisiana and elsewhere, that consider the complexities of state water laws while giving due consideration of fish and wildlife habitat management and hunting and fishing opportunity.”

The hearing will begin at 9:30 a.m. on Tuesday at the capitol in House Committee Room 4.

Backcountry Hunters & Anglers is the sportsmen’s voice
for our wild public lands, waters and wildlife.

 

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