House Of Representatives Passes Legislation That Critics Fear Will Bring More Hunting Into National Park System

Concerns that hunting and fishing are slowly slipping away as pastimes in the United States have led the U.S. House of Representatives to pass legislation that some fear would open more of the National Park System to hunting.

The legislation first surfaced last fall as the Recreational Fishing and Hunting Heritage and Opportunities Act. But it didn't gain passage, and so was resurrected earlier this year by Rep. Jeff Miller of Florida as the Sportsmen's Heritage Act of 2012.

While the measure does not specifically open more areas of the National Park System to hunting -- many national preserves already allow hunting, as do some national seashores -- it also does not specifically prevent that from happening. Rather, the legislation states that "(N)othing in this title requires the opening of national park or national monuments under the jurisdiction of the National Park Service to hunting or recreational shooting."

Before passing the bill to the Senate, the representatives also amended it to limit presidential authority to designate national monuments under the Antiquities Act of 1906 by requiring that the governor and legislature of the state in which the proposed monument is located approve the designation.

“The U.S. House of Representatives ... passed legislation that would open much of our National Park System to hunting and recreational shooting," said Craig Obey, the National Parks Conservation Association's senior vice president of government affairs. "Not only does this bill ignore the millions of families who visit, value, and love experiencing and learning about our heritage in our National Park System, but its odd treatment of many National Park Service areas is highly arbitrary and wholly inappropriate.

“There are plenty of public lands, both federal and state, that provide appropriate opportunities for hunting and recreational shooting," he continued. "Yet, in the absence of a perceived national need to hunt squirrels in Frederick Douglass’s backyard, or conduct target practice at the Gettysburg Cemetery or the Flight 93 Memorial, the House has passed legislation that would seem to contemplate such ridiculous notions.

"Perhaps there is a need to hunt ravens at the Edgar Allan Poe National Historical Site, or aid restoration of the National Mall by eliminating excess pigeons. In the absence of the House showing any willingness to exempt such places from its bill, we are left to contemplate such absurd possibilities, however implausible they may seem. The thoughtless approach to drafting and considering this legislation was a disservice to the House and to the richness of experience and heritage protected by our National Park System for the enjoyment of the American people."

Comments

"Sportsman's Heritage Act of 2012" Hmmmmm ever notice how potentially harmful legislation is disguised by fancy-dancy, noble sounding titles?

Here is the item from today's NPS Digest regarding this issue:

On April 17th, the House passed by a vote of 274-146 H. R. 4089 (Miller, Jeff, R-FL-1), to protect and enhance opportunities for recreational hunting, fishing and shooting. Among other things, the bill would require governor/state legislature approval of Presidential monument designations under the Antiquities Act; require Federal public land planning documents to include a specific evaluation of the effects of such plans on opportunities to engage in recreational fishing, hunting, or shooting; and allow in areas where hunting is prohibited by law the participation of skilled volunteers in the culling and other management of wildlife populations unless the agency shows why skilled volunteers shall not be used. The Department has not taken a position on the bill as passed.

Kind of like shutting down access for "Protection for future generations" without explanation that in the future it will be closed also...

In Olympic National Park, originally created to preserve Roosevelt elk and native salmon runs, we now have a proposal to incorporate 30,000 acres as "National Hunting Preserves" for hunting those elk, fishing those salmon, and trapping furs. Ironic, eh? http://www.sportsmenforwildolympics.org/national-preserves/
Why? These areas are now private forest lands, and the road gates are locked. They believe NPS will maintain these roads and not lock the gates, so they won't have to hike in and pack their game out. (Not likely!)
What's next? Hunting in National Wildlife Refuges, too?

RodF:
What's next? Hunting in National Wildlife Refuges, too?
Are you being facetious? Because if you aren't, hunting is very much allowed in national wildlife refuges. Mostly it's waterfowl hunting though. There are hunting areas in the Don Edwards San Francisco National Wildlife Refuge, and some of the hunting areas are located right next to freeways.

http://www.fws.gov/desfbay/Hunt/Hunt_Information.htm