In 2011, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service completed its strategic planning document Conserving the Future – Wildlife Refuges and the Next Generation. Among other issues, the document included 24 recommendations relating to public use, planning and strategic growth, science and research, partnerships and volunteers.
Two recommendations pertaining to the role of hunting and fishing within the refuge system (Recommendations 17 and 18) were stated as follows:
“Recommendation 17: The Service will work closely with state fish and wildlife agencies to conduct a review of its current hunting and fishing opportunities, especially opportunities currently offered for youth and people with disabilities. Based on this review, the Service and states will work cooperatively to prepare a strategy for increasing quality hunting and fishing opportunities on national wildlife refuges.”
“Recommendation 18: Support and enhance appropriate recreation opportunities on national wildlife refuges by partnering with state fish and wildlife agencies, other governmental bodies, conservation organizations and businesses; and by updating relevant policies and infrastructure.”
The next stage in the advancement of these objectives has come in the form of a comment period. Although the comment process appears to have been largely created for agencies, organizations and partner groups, citizen comments are entirely appropriate and encouraged. The comment period closes on August 15.
For those that have had the opportunity to hunt and fish within our nation’s wildlife refuge system, any opportunity to reinforce the important recreational opportunity these activities represent to this system should be welcomed. This is especially true when those priorities include an increased commitment to youth and the disabled. A list of those wildlife refuges found in Michigan may be retrieved here.
Although the online comment system requires the completion of a registration process, for those who are not averse to such things it may be initiated by clicking here. Comments need to reference The Draft Hunting & Fishing Strategic Plan for “Conserving the Future: Wildlife Refuges and the Next Generation.” Alternatively, you may also e-mail your comments to email@example.com or mail them to:
U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service
NWRS-DVSC, Suite 634
4401 North Fairfax Drive
Arlington, VA 22203
Attn: Vision Implementation Coordinator