I have written before about how valuable sportsmen and –women are to conservation.
I am a dedicated hunter and angler, and that is why I am so proud that Wildlife and Sport Fish Restoration is distributing more than $882.4 million to the states for conservation this year.
Thanks to the generosity of hunters, anglers, recreational target shooters and boaters, we all enjoy areas abundant with fish and wildlife resources. That is the beauty of the Wildlife and Sport Fish Restoration program and the “user pays, all benefit” idea behind the North American model of wildlife conservation.
Money from taxes on fishing, shooting and hunting gear, and motorboat fuel goes to the Wildlife and Sport Fish Restoration program, which then returns the money to the states for conservation and education projects. Wildlife and Sport Fish Restoration has generated a total of more than $15.3 billion since its start in 1937. The state fish and wildlife agencies have matched these program funds with more than $5.1 billion.
Think about it: That’s more than $20 billion to conserve, restore, manage and enhance wildlife recreation and fishing opportunities in the states. Amazing!
Some of the earliest conservationists were hunters who realized that more needed to be done to preserve the outdoors, their sport and wildlife. So they put their money and support into conservation, and the Wildlife and Sport Fish Restoration program and other conservation efforts were born.
The conservation community is lucky to have sportsmen and -women as our dedicated partners. I hope the latest batch of Wildlife and Sport Fish Restoration funds helps some youngsters get their start in the wonderful world of hunting and fishing to keep that partnership strong into the next generation.