Protect Our National Wildlife Refuges
2,381 signatures toward our 50,000 Goal
Sponsor: The Rainforest Site
Our National Wildlife Refuges are at risk of being opened to hunting and fishing in the midst of global pandemic.
A proposal from the Trump administration threatens to open 2.3m acres of wildlife refuge and fish hatchery land for hunting and fishing.1 If passed, the new rules would allow the hunting of deer, bears, elk, mountain lions and migratory birds on public lands across the U.S.
The proposal would also allow alligator hunting at three national wildlife refuges, and sport fishing at hatcheries across the country.2
At risk are lands within the National Wildlife Refuge System, founded by president Theodore Roosevelt in 19033, as well as the Pelican Island National Wildlife Refuge, created the same year to protect threatened birds from hunters.
According to U.S. Secretary of the Interior David Bernhardt, "America's hunters and anglers now have something significant to look forward to in the fall as we plan to open and expand hunting and fishing opportunities across more acreage nationwide than the entire state of Delaware."4
However, this measure is nothing short of an insult to the millions who are sheltering in place, unemployed and struggling to support their families, pleading with the federal government to help them during the global pandemic.
Grand Canyon and Zion national parks have closed to discourage the spread of the Novel Coronavirus disease (COVID-19), as have state and local parks across the U.S.3 Meanwhile, Bernhard has also directed the National Park Service to waive entrance fees.
"Instead of responding to pleas by state and local officials for needed agency resources, assistance, and help during this generational pandemic, Secretary Bernhardt made a tone-deaf announcement that by no means could ever make up for the hunting opportunities and wildlife lost as a result of Trump's deregulatory agenda decimating our public lands and environmental protections," said Western Values Project director Jayson O'Neill.2
We cannot allow these pristine lands to be destroyed in the pursuit of political gain. Sign the petition. Stop this proposal from moving forward, and protect our National Wildlife Refuges!
- U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service (2020), "2020-2021 Station-Specific Hunting and Fishing Proposed Rule National Wildlife Refuges and National Fish Hatcheries Narratives." Retrieved April 14, 2020, from https://www.fws.gov/home/feature/2020/2020-2021-Station-Specific-Hunting-and-Fishing-Proposed-Rule-Narratives.pdf.
- Associated Press (8 April 2020), "Trump to Open More Wildlife Refuge Land to Hunting, Fishing." Retrieved April 14, 2020, from https://www.usnews.com/news/politics/articles/2020-04-08/trump-to-open-more-wildlife-refuge-land-to-hunting-fishing.
- Andrew O'Reilly, Fox News (9 April 2020), "Trump administration plans to open 2.3 million acres of wildlife refuges to hunting and fishing." Retrieved April 14, 2020, from https://www.foxnews.com/politics/trump-administration-plans-to-open-2-3-million-acres-of-wildlife-refuges-to-hunting-and-fishing.
- Sophie Lewis, CBS News (6 June 2019), "Trump administration announces plans to expand hunting and fishing access in wildlife refuges." Retrieved April 14, 2020, from https://www.cbsnews.com/news/trump-administration-announces-plans-to-expand-hunting-and-fishing-access-in-wildlife-refuges/.
United States Secretary of the Interior,
The Trump administration has recently proposed a rule change to open 2.3 million acres of National Wildlife Refuge and fish hatchery land for hunting and fishing. Current U.S. Secretary of the Interior David Bernhardt considers this "something significant to look forward to in the fall" for hunters and anglers.
The fact is, this measure will be significant - in that it reduces the safety and integrity of public lands that have been protected since president Theodore Roosevelt founded the National Wildlife Refuge System in 1903. It will be significant for putting countless native mammals, reptiles, and migratory birds at risk. Most of all, it signals a significant disinterest in public safety.
Grand Canyon and Zion national parks closed to discourage the spread of the Novel Coronavirus disease (COVID-19), as have state and local parks across the U.S. State and county governments are in dire need of medical supplies and emergency relief resources, not hunting opportunities.
Our pristine public lands and the deer, bears, elk, mountain lions, alligators, and migratory birds that make their homes in them are worth far too much to throw away in a misguided attempt to garner popularity before an impending election, especially when human lives are at risk, too.
I stand firmly against this proposal and demand that the Department of the Interior refuse to open these public lands to hunting and fishing.