Newsroom Midwest Region

Highlighting hunting access at Neal Smith National Wildlife Refuge and across the country

October 11, 2019

Margaret Everson and Kayla Lyon at Neal Smith National Wildlife Refuge
Principal Deputy Director Margaret Everson and Iowa Department of Natural Resources Director Kayla Lyon. Photo by Melissa A. Clark/USFWS.

We at the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service are proud to expand access to quality hunting and fishing at national wildlife refuges and fish hatcheries across the country. In support of this goal, Principal Deputy Director Margaret Everson welcomed members of the conservation community to Neal Smith National Wildlife Refuge in Iowa yesterday.

Earlier this summer, Secretary Bernhardt kicked off this year’s hunting season with the news that 1.4 million acres of federal lands would open for new hunting and fishing opportunities. We are proud to continue this American legacy, which dates back to the 1900s, and welcome more opportunities for all Americans to access their public lands.

“We welcome hunters of all backgrounds and abilities to experience the outdoors in amazing places like Neal Smith National Wildlife Refuge,” said Margaret Everson, Principal Deputy Director of the Service. “Now, thanks to the leadership of Secretary Bernhardt, we’ve been able to open a significant amount of new areas to hunting, fishing and other outdoor activities.”

Iowa Department of Natural Resources Director Kayla Lyon joined Everson for the event and helped to highlight the ongoing successes in hunter education and retention at the refuge and across the state.

In addition to expanding access, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has made it easier for hunters and anglers to plan their next trip by simplifying refuge-specific regulations in all 50 states. Refuge staff across the country worked closely with their state counterparts to align federal rules and regulations with those of the states. The end result is that it’s easier for the American public to access their public lands.

We’ve accomplished a lot this year, and as an agency, we are looking for new ways to increase access and remove even more barriers for visitors. With that aim in mind, Everson joined with conservation leaders for a roundtable discussion during her visit and noted that we will continue to collaborate with our conservation partners to develop more ideas for hunter and angler retention. 

We look forward to welcoming even more future visitors of all kinds on the lands we manage for the continuing benefit of the American people.