MISSOULA, Mont. — Seeking to maintain public access for hunters and anglers to the nation’s wildlife refuges, the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, National Rifle Association, Safari Club International and Sportsmen’s Alliance filed to intervene in a lawsuit by an environmental group suing the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS).
The Center for Biological Diversity wants to thwart hunting and fishing access to 2.3 million acres of public land across 106 wildlife refuges and national fish hatcheries.
“It is imperative that we act on behalf of our members who support public access to these federal lands, many of which were purchased with dollars generated by hunters,” said Kyle Weaver, RMEF president and CEO. “RMEF remains a staunch advocate for access and has done so since our founding as a conservation organization nearly 38 years ago. We stand with professional wildlife managers, biologists and sportsmen and women nationwide calling for the dismissal of this blatant effort seeking to deny public access to public lands.”
In August 2020, the Trump administration announced the single largest expansion of hunting and fishing opportunities in USFWS history.
One year later, the Biden administration made a similar announcement by expanding access to 434 locations within the National Wildlife Refuge System for hunting as well as 378 places to fish.
“Increasing access to outdoor recreation opportunities is essential to advancing the administration’s commitment to the conservation stewardship of our public lands,” Interior Secretary Deb Haaland said at the time. “Responsible hunting and fishing helps to promote healthy wildlife habitats while boosting local recreation economies.”
In February 2022, the USFWS announced it doled out a single-year record of $1.5 billion generated by hunters and anglers for nationwide conservation efforts.
“We’ve said it again and again, plus the numbers bear it out that hunting is conservation. These frivolous lawsuits by anti-hunting groups are simply reckless anti-conservation,” added Weaver.
About the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation:
Founded more than 37 years ago and fueled by hunters, RMEF maintains more than 225,000 members and has conserved nearly 8.4 million acres for elk and other wildlife. RMEF also works to open and improve public access, fund and advocate for science-based resource management, and ensure the future of America’s hunting heritage. Discover why “Hunting Is Conservation™” at rmef.org or 800-CALL ELK.