The Trump administration plans to open 2.3 million acres of land for hunting and fishing at over 100 national wildlife refuges and fish hatcheries under a proposal announced on Wednesday, April 8, that aims to give Americans more recreational access on public lands.
Several hunting and fishing have already said that they are in favor of the plan, but there is criticism from one conservation organization that called it “tone deaf” to focus on this during the COVID-19 pandemic, The Salt Lake Tribune reports.
The new proposal would allow fishing for the first time at several national wildlife refuges, including San Diego Bay in California, Alamosa in Colorado, Bombay Hook in Delaware and Umbagog in Maine and New Hampshire and Everglades Headwaters in Florida, according to a list posted online.
Trump’s plan would also allow alligator hunting at three national wildlife refuges: Banks Lake in Georgia, Laguna Atascosa in Texas and Savannah in Georgia and South Carolina, according to the Observer-Reporter.
In Arizona, hunters would be able to go after mountain lions and mule deer at Cabeza Prieta as well as bobcats, fox, and mountain lions at Buenos Aires, both national wildlife refuges. In Oregon, migratory bird hunting would be allowed for the first time at Wapato Lake and Hart Mountain national wildlife refuges.
“America’s hunters and anglers now have something significant to look forward to in the fall as we plan to open and expand hunting and fishing opportunities across more acreage nationwide than the entire state of Delaware,” Interior Secretary David Bernhardt said in a statement.
Ducks Unlimited CEO Adam Putnam said in a statement the timing is perfect since Americans hunkered-down during the pandemic are looking for open spaces to recreate, according to the Observer-Reporter. This plan could be something a lot of hunters and anglers look forward to this fall.
People will have 60 days to comment on the proposal.