Regional
8:03 am
Mon July 16, 2012

Sportsmen Back Heinrich Public Access Bill

Sportsmen in New Mexico and elsewhere are throwing their support behind federal legislation that aims to improve access for hunters and anglers to millions of acres of public land.

U.S. Rep. Martin Heinrich, D-N.M., introduced the measure last week.

It calls for an inventory of all public parcels larger than a square mile where hunting and fishing are allowed but where access is blocked.

The legislation also calls for agencies to seek easements or other rights of way to improve access to parcels that are landlocked by private holdings.

Money for the acquisitions would come from a conservation fund fed by offshore oil and gas revenues.

The Southwest regional representative for the National Wildlife Federation, John Gale, says the funding mechanism gives the plan "some legs" and offers hope to hunters that they could see real changes.

Copyright 2012 The Associated Press.