Cyrus Baird For Immediate Release: 12/19/2017
December 19, 2017 (Washington, D.C. ) – Yesterday, the Council to Advance Hunting and the Shooting Sports, along with 32 other sportmen’s organizations, applauded Senator Daines (R-Montana) and Senator Bennet (D-Colorado), for introducing the “Voluntary Public Access Improvement Act of 2017”.
The Voluntary Public Access & Habitat Incentive Program (VPA-HIP) is the only program within the federal government designed to incentivize public recreational access, on private lands. State and tribal governments may apply for grants to encourage owners and operators of privately held farm, ranch, or forest land to voluntarily open that land for public wildlife-dependent recreation activities such as fishing, hunting and birding. Since its reauthorization in the 2014 Farm Bill, wildlife agencies in 29 states and tribal lands have received $40 million to expand public access and enhance wildlife habitat on more than 2.5 million acres.
“There are often several reasons associated with the decline in the number of hunters over the last two decades” said Cyrus Baird, Programs Director for the Council to Advance Hunting and the Shooting Sports. “But one reason that usually tops the list of why hunters decide not to return to the field is access. Any program that will incentivize public recreation such as hunting on private lands is a win for sportsmen.”
This program is also a win for rural communities and will help stimulate the economy nationwide. A study from the first year of VPA-HIP funding found an estimated 99 percent return on taxpayer investment through increased consumer spending.
To see the list of all 32 organizations that signed on to this letter, click here.
Purpose: Ensure support for and active participation in hunting and the shooting sports for future generations.
Vision: America where hunting and the shooting sports are an integral part of mainstream culture and where hunters and shooters are widely recognized as premiere conservation contributors.
Mission: Facilitate the promotion and growth of hunting and the shooting sports and the education of the public on the contributions that hunters and shooters make towards wildlife conservation.