Senate Hunting Bill Would Allow Motor Vehicles in Protected Wilderness Areas

Feb 2, 2012

Editor's note: The name and bill number of the “Recreational Fishing and Hunting Heritage and Opportunities Act” (H.R 2834) has been changed to the “Sportsmen’s Heritage Act” (H.R. 4089).

Companion legislation threatening tens of millions of acres of wilderness already introduced in the House

The Wilderness Society expressed deep concern about a key provision of the “Recreational Fishing and Hunting Heritage and Opportunities Act,” introduced today by Senators Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) and Joe Manchin (D-WV).  A companion bill, H.R. 2834, has been reported from the House Natural Resources Committee.

While the bill’s stated and laudable intention is to provide for recreational hunting and fishing opportunities on our federal public lands, Section 4(e)(1) could lead to motorized access into designated Wilderness Areas that are statutorily off-limits to off-road vehicles.  

While the legislation was moving through the House Natural Resources Committee, The Wilderness Society raised these concerns, requesting that the problematic language be stricken from the bill.

“This legislation has ‘Trojan Horse’ language in it that would have devastating consequences for Wilderness protection,” said Dave Alberswerth, senior policy advisor at The Wilderness Society.  “Since the sponsors of the bill claim that they do not intend to allow motorized intrusions into wilderness areas, we are urging them to drop Section 4 of the proposal.”