Hunter access to public lands to be studied
The Congressional Sportsmen's Foundation announced their new online survey. The site, www.hunteraccess.com, will help focus research on trends impacting access to federal public lands.
"The website will allow us to get specific information about the improvements or declines in hunter access to federal public lands from the hunters that have direct knowledge of what is happening on the ground in the places they hunt," stated Matt Hogan, Director of Conservation Policy for the foundation. "While we recognize that this is not a scientific survey, we hope that it will provide important insights that will fill in some gaps and help guide the research we are doing on this issue."
Federal public lands are an important destination for American hunters. In fact, approximately 47 percent of all hunters conduct a portion of their hunting activity on these lands according to the U.S. Department of the Interior. Despite numerous reports suggesting public access to federal lands is inadequate, there is little quantitative information to refute or verify this perception.
The foundation began to look more closely at this issue in November 2001 when they hosted a meeting of stakeholders with expertise and experience in federal public land access. The participants at the meeting outlined eight primary questions that were determined to be the most critical to fully understand the issue of access including agency land-use planning processes, awareness of land ownership patterns, trends in access to public lands through private lands and knowledge of access opportunities. The report outlining these issues is available on the foundations web site.
The internet is one of the tools that the foundation will be using to fully research the questions raised about access to public lands. The objective of this research is to identify recommendations and develop potential solutions that will aid Congress, federal agencies and the hunting/conservation community to improve hunter access to federal public lands.
Established in 1989, the Congressional Sportsmen's Foundation works on behalf of current and future generations of Americans to protect the right and increase the opportunity to hunt, fish and trap by serving as the sportsmen's link to Congress. The foundation serves as the link between sportsmen, wildlife conservation organizations and the Congressional Sportsmen's Caucus, a bi-partisan caucus that supports wildlife conservation, professional wildlife management, hunting and fishing. The foundation provides the caucus with substantive and factual information so that they can make informed policy decisions towards conserving and managing the nation's fish and wildlife resources.
To provide information regarding federal land use, outdoorsmen are encouraged to visit the website and voice their opinion as to what concerns face Utah residents.