Today, U.S. Senator Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.), a member of the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources and the Congressional Sportsmen's Caucus, cosponsored the Sportsmen's and Public Outdoor Recreation Traditions (SPORT) Act, a comprehensive sportsmen's legislative package that includes two of Senator Heinrich's sponsored bills: the Hunt Unrestricted on National Treasures (HUNT) Act and a bill to reauthorize the Federal Land Transaction Facilitation Act (FLTFA). Senator Kay Hagan (D-N.C.) is the lead sponsor of the SPORT Act.
The package includes bills introduced by both Democrats and Republicans that expand access to federal public lands for hunting and fishing, reauthorize critical wildlife habitat programs, and reform existing laws and regulations that keep people from enjoying the outdoors.
"Hunting and fishing are a way of life for millions of Americans - especially in New Mexico," said Sen. Heinrich. "Passing the SPORT Act would be a momentous advancement in improving hunting and angling access on public lands and growing the outdoor recreation economy. As an avid hunter, I remain deeply committed to preserving our outdoor heritage for my children, and for future generations."
Senator Heinrich introduced the HUNT Act (S.1554) in September. The legislation would require 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.
In February, Senator Heinrich introduced FLTFA (S.368) a reauthorization bill that allows the Bureau of Land Management, the U.S. Forest Service, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and the National Park Service in the western United States to use the proceeds from sales of certain federally designated areas to protect lands of exceptional conservation value.
Hunters and anglers alone spend more than $465 million per year in New Mexico. Outdoor recreation activities in New Mexico generate $6.1 billion annually in consumer spending and is also directly responsible for 68,000 New Mexico jobs.
The SPORT Act's other original cosponsors include Senators Mark Pryor (D-AR), Jon Tester (D-MT), Senator Mark Begich (D-AK); and Senator Mark Udall (D-CO).
A full list of provisions in the package is available here.