• 66°

Sportsman’s Caucus: New law boon to Sportsman’s Paradise

The Great American Outdoors Act (GAOA), a truly historic bill that attracted broad, bipartisan support in Congress, was signed into law by President Trump on Aug. 4. The GAOArepresents the single greatest financial commitment to increasing public land access and opportunities for sportsmen and women in a lifetime and marks a monumental victory for the Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation in its work on behalf of hunters, anglers and recreational shooters.

Many of you, including our colleagues in the Louisiana Legislative Sportsmen’s Caucus, flock to our nation’s public lands to participate in some variation of outdoor recreation such as hunting and fishing. During our travels, we have expressed frustration at the pace at which our public land infrastructure is deteriorating, leading to what is known as deferred maintenance, which totals roughly $20 billion.

The GAOAaddresses this unpaid debt by providing $9.5 billion to address the crumbling infrastructure on America’s public lands and waters. Importantly to our sporting community, it sets aside $3 billion to support hunting, fishing and recreational shooting activities on public lands and waters within the Bureau of Land Management, National Wildlife Refuge System, and the U.S. Forest Service, which collectively provide nearly 25 million hunting days and 45 million fishing days for America’s sportsmen and women.

The GAOAalso provides full and permanent funding for the Land and Water Conservation Fund, including $15 million annually to increase public recreational access for hunting, fishing and other forms of outdoor recreation.

Simply put, the financial resources provided by the GAOA, thanks to the bipartisan efforts of the Congressional Sportsmen’s Caucus, will ensure that we are leaving our country in a better place for the next generation of outdoor enthusiasts.

The Louisiana Legislative Sportsmen’s Caucus is comprised of House Speaker Clay Schexnayder, State Senator Gary L. Smith, Jr., State Senator Rick Ward, III and State Representative Vincent J. Pierre. They can be reached at (225) 342-0645.