Washington, DC: On Tuesday April 29, the House of Representatives passed by unanimous consent a resolution that congratulates the National Wildlife Refuge System on its Centennial Anniversary and expresses support for its continued success for the next 100 years. Co-sponsored by Congressional Sportsmen’s Caucus members Alan Boyd (D-FL) and Adam Putnam (R-FL), H. Res. 173 also reaffirms Congress’ intent to support hunting and fishing as priority public uses of national wildlife refuges. “This resolution is a tribute to the success of the National Wildlife Refuge System and to the vision of sportsmen conservationists,” stated Congressman Boyd.
With 540 refuges encompassing nearly 95 million acres, the National Wildlife Refuge System is a complex network of lands managed for wildlife and public enjoyment. There are refuges in every state of the union, and within an hour’s drive of almost every major city.
In 1997, Congress passed the National Wildlife Refuge System Improvement Act (Public Law 105-57) that specifically identifies hunting and fishing as two of six “wildlife dependent recreational” activities to be encouraged on refuges. Today hunting is permitted on more than 300 of the 540 national wildlife refuges, and there were more than 2 million hunting visits to refuges last year.
“The refuge system was founded on tiny Pelican Island in Florida a century ago by President Theodore Roosevelt, an avid hunter and outdoorsmen,” commented Congressman Putnam. “The refuge system today is a testament to conservation, where the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service balances the needs of nature with the public’s recreational opportunities,” he added. Centennial celebrations will occur across America throughout the year.