On October 11, the Keep America’s Refuges Operational Act was introduced in the House (H.R. 3979) by Hakeem Jeffries (NY) along with Gregario Sablan (MP) and Congressional Sportsmen’s Caucus (CSC) Members Congressmen Rob Wittman (VA), Garret Graves (LA), Frank LoBiondo (NJ), and Mike Thompson (CA). The Senate companion bill (S. 1940) was introduced by CSC Members Senator John Barrasso (WY) and Senator Tom Carper (DE).
H.R. 3979 and S. 1940 would reauthorize the volunteer services, community partnership, and refuge education programs of the National Wildlife Refuge System to ensure these lands will remain open to hunting and fishing for future generations. Last year alone, there were nearly 50 million visitors to the nation’s 600 National Wildlife Refuges.
On the same day, the Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation and other partners of the Cooperative Alliance for Refuge Enhancement (CARE) hosted a table at the National Wildlife Refuge Expo in the Rayburn House Office Building to highlight the Big 6 Recreational Uses of National Wildlife Refuges: hunting, fishing, wildlife observation, photography, education, and interpretation.
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- Facilitating voter registration at the time of hunting/fishing license purchase (5.26%)
- Addressing Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) in deer populations (6.58%)
- Increasing public access to private lands (22.37%)
- Granting more fish and wildlife management authority to the states (48.68%)
- Other (17.11%)