The Trump administration is expanding hunting and fishing opportunities in 77 national wildlife refuges.
The U.S Fish and Wildlife Service eliminated or revised thousands of regulations to closely match state laws.
The expansion added more than 1.4 million acres nationwide and more than doubled the acreage that has been opened or expanded in the last five years combined.
“We are pleased to offer all Americans access to hunting and fishing opportunities and other recreational activities on refuge and hatchery lands where they are compatible with our conservation management goals,” U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Principal Deputy Director Margaret Everson said in a statement. “This generations-old heritage of hunting and fishing is all about loving outdoor traditions and time spent with family.”
In the Pacific Northwest, 10 national wildlife refuges and national fish hatcheries have added or expanded hunting and fishing opportunities.
In Oregon, 100 additional fishing days have been added at Bandon Marsh and Nestucca Bay national wildlife refuges and 85 additional hunting days at McKay Creek National Wildlife Refuge.
In Washington, San Juan Islands National Wildlife Refuge and the Spring Creek, Leavenworth, Little White Salmon and Entiat national fish hatcheries will open to sport fishing for the first time. In addition, the Billy Frank Jr. Nisqually National Wildlife Refuge will open more land to waterfowl hunting this season.
The final rule also outlines a comprehensive revision and simplification of all refuge-specific hunting and fishing regulations in all 50 states to more closely match state regulations while continuing to ensure safe and compatible opportunities. The U.S Fish and Wildlife Service said it worked closely with the states in preparing the rule.
Critics say the Trump administration’s latest efforts to open public land to recreation and the oil industry are coming at the expense of the environment and wildlife.