The Natural Resources Management Act (S. 47) has passed through the Senate and now through the United State House of Representatives. S. 47 presents a package of provisions allowing more access to land for sportsmen and additional habitat conservation. With the recent vote through the House, it now heads to President Trump’s desk to be signed into law.
S. 47 was introduced back in January by Senator Lisa Murkowski of Alaska and was passed by the U.S. Senate with a huge bipartisan vote of 92 – 8, and most recently on a strong bipartisan vote of 363 – 62 in the U.S. House. Some of the provisions that S. 47 spell out include:
- Authorizing the transportation of archery equipment through National Park Service (NPS) Units.
- Permanent reauthorization of the Land and Water Conservation Fund with 3% or $15 million – whichever is greater – of annual appropriations made available for the purpose of securing additional access for hunting, fishing, recreational shooting, and other outdoor related activities. Recent studies estimate there are nearly 10 million acres of public lands in the west that are open to sporting activities, but the general public is currently unable to access these parcels due to a number of reasons. This provision, along with other provisions in S. 47, will help address this by truly making public lands public.
- Requiring Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and U.S. Forest Service (USFS) lands to be open for hunting, fishing, and recreational shooting unless specifically closed.
- Directing the NPS, BLM, USFS, and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to develop strategies for providing access to areas where hunting, fishing, target shooting and other recreation are allowed but cannot be reasonably accessed by the public.
The passage of S. 47 marks a historic day for land and water conservation and sportsmen’s access.