U.S. Fish and Wildlife expands recreation alternatives on managed lands and waters

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The Department of the Interior announced that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) has opened new or expanded hunting, boating, and sport fishing opportunities to 2.1 million acres, the largest expansion to outdoor recreational opportunities in recent history.

The expanded recreational access, which includes 88 National Wildlife Refuges and a National Fish Hatchery, is in line with the Biden-Harris government’s America the Beautiful initiative, a locally-led and volunteer nationwide effort to preserve, connect and restore 30% of the sea Landes and waters by 2030.

“Improved access to outdoor recreational opportunities is essential to fuel the government’s commitment to protecting our public lands,” said Secretary Deb Haaland. “Responsible hunting and fishing helps promote healthy habitats for wildlife while at the same time boosting the local recreational economy.”

Boating, fishing, and other outdoor activities contributed more than $ 156 billion to economic activity in communities across the United States in 2016, according to the service’s five-year National Survey of Fishing, Hunting, and Wildlife-Associated Recreation. More than 101 million Americans – 40% of the US population ages 16 and older – engage in recreational activities related to wildlife.

There are 70 national fish hatcheries that are visited by more than a million people each year. Hatcheries provide opportunities to see their operations and learn about fish, as well as activities such as fishing, hunting, hiking, sightseeing, nature studies, bird watching, and photography. The rule also officially increases the total number of National Fish Hatchery system units open for hunting or sport fishing to 22.

The National Wildlife Refuge System is an unparalleled network of 567 national wildlife sanctuaries and 38 wetland administrative districts. There is a national nature reserve within an hour’s drive of most major metropolitan areas. The Refuge System receives more than 61 million visits annually. National nature reserves provide vital habitats and access to world-class recreation for thousands of species, from fishing, hunting, and paddling to wildlife viewing, photography, and environmental education.

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