NWTF praises increased public access to FWS lands

EDGEFIELD, S.C. — The National Wild Turkey Federation praised Secretary of Interior David Bernhardt’s recent announcement of new or expanded access to more than 1.4 million acres across 77 national wildlife refuges and 15 national fish hatcheries managed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

“A decline in hunting participation is something NWTF is working hard to reverse. Increasing access and opportunities for outdoor recreation plays a huge role in that fight,” NWTF CEO Becky Humphries said. “Opening or expanding hunting and fishing access to more than 1.4 million acres is a monumental move by the Department of the Interior, especially coming at a time where hunters can use the lands for the upcoming fall hunting seasons.”

The rule change directly addresses one of the more common reasons given for the decline in hunting participation – hunters do not have places to enjoy their outdoor pursuits. This is something the NWTF also is addressing head on through its Save the Habitat. Save the Hunt. initiative goal to open new access to 500,000 acres for outdoor recreation.

“This is the largest single effort to expand hunting and fishing access in recent history,” Bernhardt said in the DOI press release. “President Trump has made increasing public access and streamlining government functions priorities of his administration, and this new rule delivers on both fronts given the unprecedented expansion of public acreage and removal or revision of 5,000 hunting and fishing regulations to more closely match state laws. This is a big win for sportsmen and sportswomen across the country and our collective conservation efforts.”

To ready the initial release from the FWS and for links to all the refuges and hatcheries included in the proposal, visit https://www.doi.gov/pressreleases/secretary-bernhardt-expands-public-access-hunting-and-fishing-14-million-acres

About the National Wild Turkey FederationWhen the National Wild Turkey Federation was founded in 1973, there were about 1.3 million wild turkeys in North America. After decades of work, that number hit a historic high of almost 7 million turkeys. To succeed, the NWTF stood behind science-based conservation and hunters’ rights. The NWTF Save the Habitat. Save the Hunt. initiative is a charge that mobilizes science, fundraising and devoted volunteers to conserve and enhance more than 4 million acres of essential wildlife habitat, recruit at least 1.5 million hunters and open access to 500,000 acres for hunting. For more information, visit NWTF.org