March 12, 2020
Dingell Act Anniversary Highlights Increasing Access for America’s Sportsmen
Today marks the one-year anniversary of the enactment by President Donald Trump of the S. 47, now known as the Dingell Act and named after the legendary Michigan lawmaker and sportsman, Rep. John Dingell. In an interior Department release Secretary David Bernhardt celebrated the one-year anniversary of the signing of the formally named John D. Dingell Jr. Conservation, Management, and Recreation Act. At the time of its passage, SCI supported several provisions in the Act, including the use of qualified volunteer hunters in wildlife control programs on Park System land, and increasing access to hunting and fishing on Forest Service and BLM land.
Secretary Bernhardt noted that when President Donald Trump signed the bill into law “he furthered his indelible legacy of balancing natural resources conservation and responsibly expanding recreation opportunities on our public lands.” Dingell Act provisions expressly call for increasing access to public lands for hunting, fishing and recreational shooting. SCI has worked with the Secretary and DOI officials to follow through on the use of skilled volunteers at national parks and recently submitted public comment opening access in the State of Utah on BLM land.
The Interior Department called that the new law “is the single most important public lands management law to be passed in over a decade…” and touted the creation of new authorities to managing endangered and invasive species and advance a number of conservation and recreation initiatives for the American people. After the enactment of the law, Bernhardt created a secretarial task force to prioritize the law’s implementation. The Department also touted the following wins for hunters, recreational shooters, and other sportsmen:
–BLM working to establish a shooting range near Deadwood, South Dakota;
–Fish & Wildlife Service opening access to more than 1.4 million acres to hunting and fishing opportunities at 77 National Wildlife Refuges and 15 National Fish Hatcheries;
–BLM clearing the way for the construction and operation of five recreational shooting sites near the Phoenix, Arizona;
–As noted above, NPS establishing policies for using volunteers to assist in wildlife management activities;
–BLM working on improvements to wildlife corridors in partnership with local communities and the State of Wyoming.