NRA Helps Enhance Sportsmen`s Access to Federal Public Lands
Wednesday, September 24, 2003
Joint Understanding by Federal Agencies, NRA
and Sportsmen Groups Will Benefit Hunters
(Washington, DC)-- The Department of Agriculture and the Department of the Interior entered into a cooperative agreement with the National Rifle Association (NRA) and 15 other sportsmen organizations in an endeavor to improve and maintain access to federally managed public land for America`s sportsmen and hunters. Executive Vice President Wayne LaPierre represented NRA`s 4 million members at the signing of the "Sportsmen`s Access to Federal Public Lands" Memorandum of Understanding (MOU).
"This is a significant agreement that will benefit sportsmen and sportswomen across our country," said LaPierre. "Improving access to federally managed public land for hunting purposes is vital to the survival of this cherished American pastime. We are pleased that the federal agencies in control of public land recognize the positive contribution of hunters to wildlife management."
Hunters and sportsmen have increasingly reported problems with diminishing access to public hunting lands, which has hindered their opportunity to participate and enjoy the sport. This is especially significant in areas of the nation where federal public land provides the only venue for hunting lands. In the agreement, the U.S. Forest Service, U.S. Bureau of Land Management and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services have agreed to assist in the identification and improvement of areas where hunting access on public lands is inadequate. In turn, NRA and the other sportsmen organizations will work to enhance communication between hunters and the agencies to improve management of federal public hunting land.
"Hunting is also a vital element of our economy," added LaPierre. "This MOU is a good opportunity to promote conservation and provide a safe and accessible environment for America`s over 20 million hunters while stimulating economic growth during these grueling economic times."
Hunters and sportsmen play a pivotal role in America`s economy and society, and have been leaders in promoting wildlife management and conservation. Since 1939, hunters and shooters have paid over $4 billion on excise taxes on sporting equipment. Hunters and fishermen fund nearly 75% of the annual income for all 50 state conservation agencies. And, hunters contribute $21 billion to the American economy each year.
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Established in 1975, the Institute for Legislative Action (ILA) is the "lobbying" arm of the National Rifle Association of America. ILA is responsible for preserving the right of all law-abiding individuals in the legislative, political, and legal arenas, to purchase, possess and use firearms for legitimate purposes as guaranteed by the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.