Hunting, fishing opportunities expanded

Staff Report

This week, the Department of the Interior’s U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service), announced it was opening additional hunting and fishing opportunities in West Virginia and across the country.

According to a press release provided by U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, this brings the total expansion to over 4 million acres nationally since President Donald J. Trump took office.

“On the heels of President Trump signing the most significant conservation and recreation funding in U.S. history, providing nearly $20 billion over the next 10 years to fix and conserve the American people’s public lands, the Trump Administration has now made an additional 2.3 million acres accessible to new hunting and fishing opportunities,” said U.S. Secretary of the Interior David L. Bernhardt. “We continue to take significant actions to further conservation initiatives and support sportsmen and women who are America’s true conservationists.”

“The Trump Administration and Secretary Bernhardt have made access to public lands for hunting and fishing and other outdoor recreation a priority beginning day one. Hunting and fishing are a part of our American history, and we continue to ensure we provide opportunities for these activities which epitomize our American heritage,” said Service Director Aurelia Skipwith. “Furthermore, we have maintained our commitment to promoting good government by reducing the regulatory burden by working with states to facilitate these outdoor activities.”

In West Virginia, Canaan Valley National Wildlife Refuge will be open to sport fishing for the first time and expand existing migratory bird, upland game, and big game hunting to new acres.

“Hunting and fishing are two staples of the Mountain State, making it welcome news that Interior is increasing access to the Canaan Valley National Wildlife Refuge,” said U.S. Sen. Shelley Moore-Capito of West Virginia. “It is important that we continue to support the outdoorsmen of our state and provide adequate access to the bountiful wild game in West Virginia. I thank the Trump administration for taking notice of this opportunity in West Virginia, and I look forward to the benefits this will create for our hunters and fishers.”

“The West Virginia Division of Natural Resources is proud of its strong working relationship with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the National Wildlife Refuge System,” said Paul Johansen, chief, Wildlife Resources Section, West Virginia Division of Natural Resources. “Working collaboratively, we have successfully expanded hunting and fishing opportunities on the Canaan Valley and Ohio River Islands national wildlife refuges in West Virginia. These increased opportunities for wildlife-associated recreation will provide safe and healthy outdoor experiences for our citizens, especially during these uncertain times. Continued efforts by the Service and WVDNR to provide alignment of hunting and fishing regulations and expand public access will benefit all who visit West Virginia and our incredibly important national wildlife refuges.”

The press release further stated: Since the creation of the very first national wildlife refuge by President Theodore Roosevelt, refuges have been places where wildlife is managed to ensure healthy populations for future generations of Americans to enjoy. Responsible hunting has always been a part of that management equation. Refuge managers complete rigorous environmental studies to ensure each hunting opportunity is consistent with their conservation goals. Hunting and fishing are not allowed on all refuges, but the Service makes every effort to permit them where possible and compatible.

Hunting and fishing generate millions of dollars in revenue for states each year from the sale of licenses and tags. Additionally, excise taxes on firearms and ammunition, as well as sport fishing equipment and boating fuel, generate more revenue for states for wildlife management and public recreation; in 2020 alone the Service will distribute nearly $1 billion to states under the Wildlife and Sport Fish Restoration Program.

For more information, view interactive maps of hunting and fishing opportunities, and a web page of all environmental documents related to openings and closings at all 147 affected stations.

Information provided by U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

Staff Report