The Nevada chapter of Backcountry Hunters and Anglers has been busy since the start of the state’s legislative session. Sportsman and women from across the state have been deeply involved with the bills that have been introduced in both the Assembly and Senate. The chapter is looking forward in helping to promote and pass bills that would increase public access for recreation on public lands that include hunting and fishing.
Senate Bill 316 will enact penalties for any person illegally blocking access to state lands. If passed, the bill would make it a misdemeanor for any individual to construct a fence or claim exclusive rights to the use of state land if that person has no leasehold or claim to that piece of state land. It will also make it unlawful for a person to use force, threats, or intimidation to prevent any person from traveling over or through state lands. If passed this act would become effective on July 1, 2019, just in time for the fall hunting season.
Assembly bill 486 is not directly tied to public land access but would be beneficial for all public land sportsman and women. This legislation would create the Nevada Office of Outdoor Recreation. Nevada is comprised of 87% public land, second only to Alaska. Outdoor recreation is an economic driver for the state bringing in nearly $12.6 billion in consumer spending and 87,000 jobs, $4 billion in wages and salaries, and $1.1 billion in state and local tax revenue, according to the OIA. The outdoor recreation business ranks third in the state behind gaming and tourism. With nearly 60% of Nevada residents participating in the outdoors, creating a centralized department in the state aimed at addressing outdoor recreation concerns would be a great resource to all Nevada residents and visitors.
Assembly bill 84 will re-authorize a conservation bond program that has been a proven success since it was originally passed in 2001. The program has been vital in protecting and improving Nevada’s natural environment, cultural resources, and recreational opportunities. The program has helped preserve water quality, protect rivers and wetlands, and enrich State Parks and historic treasures. If passed, the State Board of Finance shall issue general obligation bonds up to $200,000,000 to protect and preserve natural and cultural resources for the State of Nevada.