Public Lands Fishing Needs Protection

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The lack of public access to public resources is a real and serious threat to fishing, according to KeepAmericaFishing. Legislation being pushed by the U.S. Sportsmen’s Alliance and its partners will protect, and could open, more federal lands to recreational fishing.

A lack of access to water is the primary reason that keeps anglers from enjoying a day on the water. With expanding land development, growing state and federal regulations, and other restrictions on angler access, federally-owned lands are more important than ever for recreational fishing opportunities. A recent Congressional report, however, concluded that more than 35 million acres of land owned by the Bureau of Land Management and the U.S. Forest Service – have inadequate access for sportsmen and women.

The Recreational Fishing and Hunting Heritage and Opportunities Act (H.R. 2834), works to resolve the growing problem of angler access on public lands. The bill—that has now been passed by the U.S. House Natural Resources committee–will increase access to angling, hunting and recreational shooting on federal lands by prioritizing these activities within agencies’ land management plans. The bill will require that federal lands be operated as “open-until-closed” with respect to hunting, fishing and recreational shooting. This means that these government agencies could not arbitrarily close their lands to fishermen and could only close lands when there is an actual and necessary reason for doing so.