WASHINGTON — KeepAmericaFishing, a division of the American Sportfishing Association that helps anglers get involved in advocating for their sport, is encouraging the industry to support the Making Public Lands Public Access Act (S. 901).
The act, which was introduced in Congress on May 5, increases access to angling, hunting and recreational shooting opportunities on federal lands. The legislation directs that a minimum of $10 million be used to ensure that fishing, hunting and other recreational activities are accessible for these purposes. The funding for access projects such as easements and access roads would come from existing Land and Water Conservation Fund monies that come from offshore oil and gas leases.
This legislation does not seek to increase the amount of land owned by the government, but instead enhances recreational access in existing national parks, forests and other federally owned lands.
“Lack of access is the primary reason that keeps anglers from enjoying a day on the water, the group said in a release. “With expanding land development and growing regulations restricting angler access, federally owned lands are more important than ever for recreational fishing opportunity. However, a recent Congressional report concluded that more than 35 million acres of land owned by two federal land management agencies – the Bureau of Land Management and the U.S. Forest Service – have inadequate access for sportsmen and women.”