From Backcountry Hunters & Anglers:
WASHINGTON – Bipartisan legislation that would modernize and digitize map records for the benefit of public lands hunters passed out of the U.S. House of Representatives today following strong and continued advocacy by Backcountry Hunters & Anglers and other sportsmen’s and women’s groups.
The Modernizing Access to Our Public Land Act, or MAPLand Act (H.R. 3113), passed 414-9 with overwhelming support under suspension of the rules, an expedited consideration for noncontroversial bills. Led by Reps. Blake Moore (R-UT), Kim Schrier (D-WA), Russ Fulcher (R-ID) and Joe Neguse (D-CO), the MAPLand Act would fund public land management agencies, including the Bureau of Land Management, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Forest Service, National Park Service, Bureau of Reclamation and Army Corps of Engineers, to standardize, compile and release digital map records to the public. The publicly available information would include the open or closed status of roads and trails on public lands, vehicle-use regulations and boundary details.
Companion legislation was introduced in the Senate in March of 2021. Following today’s vote by the House, the next step is for the Senate to pass its version of the bill.
Land Tawney, BHA president and CEO, underscored the importance of reliable, comprehensive information on access opportunities to public lands hunters in the U.S. – a challenge that the MAPLand Act would help resolve.
“Figuring out where to hunt can be the most challenging part of getting afield,” acknowledged Tawney, “and with hunters citing insufficient access as the No. 1 reason for forgoing time afield, resolving this issue is a priority for BHA and our partners.
“The MAPLand Act takes a proactive, solution-oriented approach to the challenge of public access,” Tawney continued. “It offers welcome resolution to an ongoing problem – an action from which all Americans will stand to gain. We thank members of the House of Representatives for coming together in a strong display of bipartisan support. We look forward to the MAPLand Act advancing through the Senate and on to the president’s desk.”
BHA partner Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership has been a leading voice advocating for the MAPLand Act. TRCP President and CEO Whit Fosburgh today thanked House members for voting in support of the bill.
“We thank House lawmakers for listening to the voices of public land users and for making a commonsense investment in the future of hunting, fishing, and outdoor recreation access,” said Fosburgh. “The MAPLand Act will help more Americans to get outside and enjoy the unparalleled recreational opportunities found within our public land system. It is encouraging to see broad support for this legislation from both sides of the aisle, a welcome reminder that conservation and our outdoor heritage transcend party lines.”
Currently, more than 16.4 million acres of U.S. public lands across 22 states are landlocked – surrounded by private lands – and inaccessible. Information made available through the MAPLand Act would allow hunters and anglers to discover new opportunities on public lands and waters and boost the nation’s annual $689 billion outdoor recreation economy.
Backcountry Hunters & Anglers is the voice
for our wild public lands, waters and wildlife.