Sen. Murkowski Introduces Bipartisan Sportsmen’s Package

Legislative Package Promotes Access to Public Lands for Hunters, Anglers

Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, chairman of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, today introduced the Bipartisan Sportsmen’s Act of 2015. The legislation would increase access to public lands in Alaska and across the West for fishing, hunting, and recreational shooting, while advancing efforts to conserve our lands and waters.

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“Being from Alaska, I’m lucky. Our hunting and fishing is top-notch. We learn to love the ‘great outdoors’ very early on in the Last Frontier. We know how to enjoy it today, and we’re committed to making sure that future generations have the same great opportunities,” Murkowski said. “The bipartisan legislation we introduced today will help ensure that our grandchildren have the same opportunities to hunt and fish as we did growing up.”

Access to public lands is a top priority for Alaska’s sportsmen and women. The Bipartisan Sportsmen's Act of 2015 includes a broad array of measures to enhance opportunities for hunters, anglers, and outdoor recreation enthusiasts; reauthorize key conservation programs; improve access to public lands; and help boost the outdoor recreation economy.

Among the provisions in the Bipartisan Sportsmen’s Act of 2015 are:

  • Recreational Fishing and Hunting Heritage and Opportunities Act – protects the public’s right to engage in recreational hunting, fishing and shooting activities on Bureau of Land Management and Forest Service lands;
  • Hunting, Fishing and Recreational Shooting Protection Act – permanently excludes lead-shot ammunition and lead fishing tackle from the Toxic Substances Control Act and leaves decisions about tackle to state fish and game agencies and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service;
  • Bows Transported through National Parks – prohibits the National Park Service from restricting the lawful transportation of bows and crossbows that remain in the vehicle while in a national park unit. Currently, firearms can be legally transported, but not bows;
  • North American Wetlands Conservation Act Reauthorization – reauthorizes NAWCA through 2019, providing matching grants for the restoration of wetlands critical to migratory birds. The NAWCA program has helped conserve 65,000 acres of habitat in Alaska with $4.7 million in grant funding;
  • Making Public Lands Public – requires the greater of 1.5 percent or $10 million of annual Land and Water Conservation Funds be made available for improving recreational access to existing federal lands;
  • HUNT Act – directs all federal public land management agencies to improve access to high priority federal lands where hunting, fishing, and outdoor recreation are permitted;
  • National Fish and Wildlife Foundation Reauthorization – reauthorizes NFWF through 2019, directing conservation dollars to pressing environmental needs with matching private funds.

A full list of the measures in the Bipartisan Sportsmen’s Act of 2015 is available on the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee’s website, as is the full text of the bill.