SACRAMENTO, Calif. — The Trump administration announced what it called a major expansion of hunting and fishing in the nation’s wildlife refuges.
On Wednesday, the administration laid out a plan that affects 1.4 million acres on federal public lands, including 74 national wildlife refuges and 15 national fish hatcheries, U.S. Interior Secretary David Bernhardt said at the Ottawa National Wildlife Refuge Wednesday.
The hunting expansion is the largest proposed by the Trump Administration to date, according to U.S. Interior Secretary David Bernhardt, who also said that the proposal would also allow hunting and fishing for the first time at 15 national fish hatcheries.
“It’s a dramatic statement about our commitment to access,” Bernhardt said in a statement, adding that lack of access to hunting and fishing sites is one of the most common reasons people do not begin those activities.“Hunting and fishing are more than just traditional pastimes as they are also vital to the conservation of our lands and waters, our outdoor recreation economy, and our American way of life."
Five of the seven California refuges on the list are located in the Sacramento region:
- Colusa National Wildlife Refuge / Colusa, Ca.: Open to wild turkey hunting for the first time on 1,639 acres already open to other hunting.
- Delevan National Wildlife Refuge / Willows, Ca.: Open to wild turkey hunting for the first time on 1,696 acres already open to other hunting.
- Sacramento National Wildlife Refuge / Willows, Ca.: Open to wild turkey hunting for the first time on 1,371 acres already open to other hunting.
- Stone Lakes National Wildlife Refuge / Elk Grove, Ca.: Open sport fishing for the first time on acres already open to other activities.
- Sutter National Wildlife Refuge / Yuba City, Ca.: Open to wild turkey hunting for the first time on 839 acres already open to other hunting
The plan is to finalize the proposal by September 2019 after public comment. The proposal also calls for revising hunting and fishing rules at refuges in all states to more closely match state regulations. Bernhardt said that latter proposal followed a comprehensive review of federal and state rules, something Bernhardt said the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has never done.
"These refuges and hatcheries provide incredible opportunities for sportsmen and women and their families across the country to pass on a fishing and hunting heritage to future generations and connect with wildlife,” Bernhardt said in a statement.
A complete list of all refuges and hatcheries in the proposal is available in the proposed rule and online.