EDGEFIELD, S.C.— Congress passed a bill on to the president Wednesday that benefits hunters, anglers and other outdoor enthusiasts and brings federal land management agencies into the 21st century.
The MAPLand Act (Modernizing Access to our Public Lands Act), which had broad bipartisan support, moves to the president’s desk in an effort to improve access and clarity on federal lands and waters. This bill is important because it directs federal land-management agencies to work together to create a compatible and comprehensive database of federal public lands and waters and digital maps showing up-to-date access points and openings/closures for recreational use. The system would be available to the outdoor recreation public for use on GPS units and smartphones.
The MAPLand Act requires agencies to provide geospatial files with records to include:
- Legal easements and rights-of-way across private land.
- Closures on roads and trails.
- Road-specific restrictions by vehicle-type.
- Boundaries of areas where special rules or prohibitions apply to hunting and shooting.
“For far too long, exact locations, boundaries and access to our nation’s federal public lands have remained a confusing and often mysterious prospect for hunters and other people who recreate outdoors,” NWTF CEO Becky Humphries said. “Having a modern mapping system compatible with smartphones and other common devices that includes up-to-date boundaries, entry points and closures will ensure hunters, anglers and others stay legal, avoid trespassing and make the most of our federal public lands.”
The MAPLand Act was sponsored by Sen. Jim Risch (R-Idaho) and co-sponsored by Sens. Angus King (I-Maine), Joe Manchin (D-WV), John Barrasso (R-Wyo.), Susan Collins (R-Maine), Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), Mike Crapo (R-Idaho), Jon Tester (D-Mont.), Ted Cruz (R-Texas), Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.), Steve Daines (R-Mont.), Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.), Cynthia Lummis (R-Wyo.), Margaret Wood Hassan (D-N.H.), Jacky Rosen (D-Nev.), Mark Kelly (D-Ariz.) and John Hickenlooper (D-Colo.).
About the National Wild Turkey Federation
When the National Wild Turkey Federation was founded in 1973, there were about 1.3 million wild turkeys in North America. After decades of work, that number hit a historic high of almost 7 million turkeys. To succeed, the NWTF stood behind science-based conservation and hunters’ rights. Today, the NWTF is focused on the future of hunting and conservation through its Save the Habitat. Save the Hunt. initiative. Since 2012, this 10-year initiative has already eclipsed goals of conserving or enhancing more than 4 million acres of essential wildlife habitat, recruiting or retaining more than 1.5 million hunters and opening access to more than 500,000 acres for hunting and other recreation opportunities. This critical work will continue to impact wildlife habitat and our great outdoors in the final year of the initiative.