Murkowski Introduces Amendment to Preserve Access, Recreation on Public Lands

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, today introduced her Recreational Fishing and Hunting Heritage and Opportunities Act as an amendment to legislation currently being considered on the Senate floor. Murkowski’s amendment is a first-degree amendment to Sen. Jon Tester’s, D-Montana, Sportsmen’s Act of 2012 (S. 3525).

“While I appreciate Sen. Tester’s efforts in putting together the Sportsmen’s Act, I am disappointed by the decision to leave out bipartisan measures that I believe are important to protect public access,” Murkowski said. “I have worked hard to find the right balance, and I believe the amendment I am introducing tonight reflects that effort. I am voting to proceed to consideration of the Sportsmen’s Act with the hope that we can strengthen the bill through a full and open amendment process.”

Murkowski’s amendment would protect the public right to engage in recreational hunting, fishing, and shooting on federal lands. It mandates that lands managed by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and the U.S. Forest Service be open to recreational hunting, fishing, and shooting unless specifically closed by the agencies. It also supports Executive Order 13443, which directs federal land management agencies to facilitate the expansion and enhancement of hunting on federal lands, and ensures sound scientific management of wildlife and their habitat.

The amendment is cosponsored by Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.V. Murkowski originally introduced the legislation as a stand-alone bill in February as S. 2066. It is the Senate companion to H.R. 2834, which was introduced by Rep. Dan Benishek, R-Michigan, in the House in September with 45 bipartisan co-sponsors, and was passed by the House as part of H.R. 4089 in April.

Murkowski’s amendment is supported by the following organizations: American Fisheries Society, American Sportfishing Association, Archery Trade Association, Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies, Boone and Crockett Club, Catch-A-Dream Foundation, Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation, Conservation Force, Delta Waterfowl Foundation, Ducks Unlimited, Masters of Foxhounds Association, National Rifle Association, National Shooting Sports Foundation, National Trappers Association, National Wild Turkey Federation, North American Grouse Partnership, Northwest Sportfishing Industry Association, Orion – The Hunter’s Institute, Pope and Young Club, Public Lands Foundation, Pure Fishing, Quality Deer Management Association, Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, Ruffed Grouse Society, Safari Club International, Texas Wildlife Association, The Wildlife Society, Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership, Tread Lightly, U.S. Sportsmen’s Alliance, Whitetails Unlimited, Wildlife Forever, and Wildlife Management Institute.