In a welcomed sign for hunting and shooting sports enthusiasts across the country, the Trump Administration this week submitted its 2020 budget proposal to Congress, and it’s chock full of good news for outdoorsmen and women.
President Donald Trump – an ardent supporter of law-abiding Americans’ Second Amendment rights – included in his budget a focus on additional resources for visitor services at National Wildlife Refuges, monies for recreation management, acquisitions for more public lands and expanded hunting and fishing opportunities for all Americans.
U.S. Secretary of the Interior David Bernhardt was especially pleased by the budget announcement, adding in a press release, “We are also extremely appreciative of today’s proposal…” that includes funding plans for the maintenance backlog in National Parks as well as Fish and Wildlife Service and Bureau of Land Management facilities.
More Access, More Opportunities
The president’s budget proposal included an additional $12.6 million ($86.8 million in total) ensuring more Americans have public lands access and additional opportunities to enjoy the outdoors activities, including hunting and recreational target shooting.
Another $10 million was requested for public lands acquisitions that were previously unavailable for recreation activities. And an additional highlight includes an increase in funding to $86.8 million for the National Wildlife Refuge System (NWRS) services that offer wildlife-dependent recreation opportunities. Nearly 60 million Americans each year participate in activities provided by the NWRS. These are fantastic outdoors and public land investments, and Americans from across the country have reason to be excited about this great news.
Sec. Bernhardt on Promises Kept
Interior Secretary David Bernhardt recently spoke at the 2020 SHOT Show and discussed the vision he and President Trump share on expanded access and increased funding succinctly. “The administration has done some really great things that ensure that sportsmen can get out, enjoy their land, participate in hunting, fishing and recreational opportunities – and really see the great bounty that nature provides.”
During the conversation, which also included Agriculture Sec. Sonny Perdue, Sec. Bernhardt also described President Trump’s leadership in working through the Bureau of Land Management to develop outdoor activity microsites across the country. These are sites where outdoorsmen and women, from beginner to expert, will be able to take advantage of recreational shooting opportunities on BLM land to practice, hone their shooting skills and pass on traditions to newcomer friends and younger generations.
Congress ultimately has the power of the purse. However, President Trump is setting the vision for – and delivering results – for hunters, recreational shooters and conservation and wildlife management priorities. For outdoorsmen and women across the country, the future is still very bright under the Trump administration.
Larry Keane is SVP for Government and Public Affairs, Assistant Secretary and General Counsel of the National Shooting Sports Foundation.