New Bills Could Open Wilderness Areas to Hunting, Fishing, Motors

When the U.S. House passed the Sportsmen’s Heritage Act of 2012 two months ago, it didn’t get much attention. But after further analysis, the bill is increasingly seen as a real threat to wilderness protections. It would expand access to hunting, fishing and motor vehicle use on public lands–including areas like the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness.

In a recent Pioneer Press article, Dennis Lien wrote that the nonpartisan Congressional Research Service found that “imprecise wording” made it difficult to asses the bill’s impact on wilderness areas, but it appears to “not only allow any activity related to fishing, hunting or wildlife conservation to be conducted in wilderness areas, but it may also obviate the primacy of wilderness values in determining permissible activities in wilderness areas.”

Sportsmen’s groups have downplayed impacts on wilderness areas, and efforts have been made to attach a similar bill to the Farm Bill in the Senate. Only two of Minnesota’s representatives voted against it: Keith Ellison and Betty McCollum. Read the Pioneer Press article HERE.

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