"Sportsmen say their number one concern is the lack of access to our public lands across the West. The HUNT Act will open up these areas to hunting and fishing and grow our thriving outdoor recreation economy in the process. Hunting and fishing are a way of life for millions of Americans. As an avid hunter, I remain deeply committed to preserving our outdoor heritage for my children, and for future generations."
–U.S. Senator Martin Heinrich, September 26, 2013
U.S. Senator Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.) introduced the Hunt Unrestricted on National Treasures (HUNT) Act to improve access to public lands for hunting, fishing, and other recreational uses.
Specifically, the HUNT Act seeks to improve access to public lands by requiring federal land management agencies to identify public lands that lack public access routes, develop a plan to provide access routes to those lands that have significant potential for recreational use, and direct 1.5 percent in funds from the Land and Water Conservation Fund each year to purchase road and trail easements and rights of way from willing sellers who own private land adjacent to inaccessible public lands.
The bill would also require public land agencies to identify roads that act as primary access routes for lands under their management, which will help the counties and states that manage these roads to make more informed decisions about maintenance and closures.
The HUNT Act would direct federal management agencies to:
- Prepare and annually report a list of public lands that have no or limited public access.
- Identify which of these lands would have a significant potential for hunting, fishing, and other recreational uses if the public could gain access.
- Explain what would be necessary to provide access to those lands.
- Direct 1.5 percent in funds from the Land and Water Conservation Fund each year to purchase easements and rights of way from willing owners.
- Maintain a list of roads that serve as primary access routes to public lands to help inform state and county decisions about road maintenance and closures.
By improving hunting and angling access, the HUNT Act would help grow the economy:
- Outdoor recreation contributed $646 billion in direct spending to the U.S. economy last year, directly resulting in highly sought-after jobs for 6.1 million Americans.
- Hunters and anglers alone spend more than $465 million per year in New Mexico, and outdoor recreation as a whole contributes $6.1 billion to the state’s economy.
- The recreation economy employs more people in New Mexico – 68,000 jobs – than mining, timber, and oil and gas development combined.
The HUNT Act is supported by:
- Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership
- Bull Moose Sportsmen’s Alliance
- Trout Unlimited
- National Wildlife Federation
- Backcountry Hunters and Anglers
- Southwest Consolidated Sportsmen
- Outdoor Industry Association