Savannah Coastal Refuges Complex Proposing $25 Hunt Permit Fee
The Savannah Coastal Refuges Complex currently hosts 18 separate hunts on the five refuges open to public use: Blackbeard Island, Harris Neck, Pinckney Island, Savannah, and Wassaw National Wildlife Refuges. A few of these hunts are quota hunts, and a $15 fee is collected from those hunters who are successfully drawn. The rest are open hunts, with no limit to the number of people who can participate, and no fees are collected.
The costs associated with administering and managing these hunts (publications, signage, etc.), including the maintenance of hunt-related facilities (generators, deer coolers, camping areas, boat ramps and docks, boat, vehicle and ATV maintenance, etc.) are significant and continue to increase as costs for goods and services go up, and facilities age and require maintenance and replacement. Shrinking budgets are making it more and more difficult for manageres to address the needs of the hunt program, and the forecast for future budgets looks even worse.
Implenting a $25 across-the-board hunt permit fee would provide refuge managers with designated funds to be used exclusively for administering the hunt program and for maintaining and enhancing hunt facilities. In determing the fee, we did a cost analysis with comparable government facilities including Wilidlife Management Areas in both Georgia and South Carolina, as well as Fort Stewart in Georgia. These fees ranged from $25 up to $60 or more. Hunters who purchase the permit will have access to all non-quota hunts on every refuge in the Complex for the entire season. Hunters wishing to participate in any refuge quota hunt will still be required to submit an application, but will not have to purchase the permit unless they are drawn. Youth hunters 15 and under will not be required to purchase a permit for any hunt, but would still be required to submit an applications for any quota hunt.
We are interested in hearing from you regarding the proposed new fee requirement, and will be accepting formal public comments between August 12 and December 13, 2013. All comments will be reviewed and considered before a final decision is made on the implementation of the fee. All comments must be in writing (either through email, U.S. mail, or hand-delivered) and submitted to the attention of the Project Leader. We appreciate your participation in this process and your continued support of the Savannah Coastal Refuges Complex hunt program.
Deliver or mail comments to:
Savannah Coastal Refuges Complex
694 Beech Hill Lane
Hardeeville, South Carolina 29927
Email comments to: email@example.com