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Press Release

Wisconsin Field Hearing Highlights Importance of Access for Sportsmen and Women

  • NFPL Subcommittee

Today, the Subcommittee on Federal Lands held a field hearing in Hayward, Wis., to hear from local witnesses on the importance of federal land access to outdoorsmen and women. Subcommittee Chairman Tom Tiffany (R-Wis.) issued the following statement in response: 

"Outdoor sports like hunting, fishing, trapping, and shooting are deeply rooted in Wisconsin's cultural heritage. Unfortunately, access barriers, such as road decommissioning and closures, preservationist land lockups, and a lack of active management, limit sportsmen and women’s ability to experience our public lands. Committee Republicans are committed to hearing directly from folks on the ground and advancing solutions that increase access and improve management."


Outdoor sporting activities are ingrained in American culture and heritage. Our nation is blessed with abundant lands and resources, and Wisconsin is ranked among the top 10 states for both fishing and hunting opportunities. Unfortunately, access barriers limit sportsmen and women’s ability to experience our public lands. These barriers include road decommissioning and closures, preservationist land lockups, a lack of active management and weaponization of environmental laws.

Loss of access to recreation sites is one of the biggest threats to hunting and fishing. The decommissioning or closure of U.S. Forest Service (USFS) roads is a top concern for sportsmen and women, and the troubling data speaks for itself. Since 1991, the USFS has decommissioned an average of 2,000 miles of roads annually. 

Efforts to ban lead ammunition and tackle on certain federal lands are another major threat to hunting and fishing. On June 22, 2023, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service proposed banning the use of lead ammunition and tackle by 2026 in seven national wildlife refuges. On April 30, 2024, the House passed H.R. 615, the Protecting Access for Hunters and Anglers Act of 2023, introduced by U.S. Rep. Rob Wittman (R-Va.). This legislation bars the U.S. Department of the Interior and the U.S. Department of Agriculture from prohibiting or regulating the use of lead ammunition or tackle on federal lands or waters.

Proper species management is also essential in promoting access for sportsmen and women. The Great Lakes region has the largest concentration of gray wolves in the lower 48 states, with an estimated 4,200 wolves inhabiting Michigan, Minnesota and Wisconsin. Under the current management framework, wolves in Minnesota are listed as threatened, whereas wolves in Michigan and Wisconsin are listed as endangered. The case for delisting is clear, and on April 30, 2024, the U.S. House of Representatives passed H.R. 764, the Trust the Science Act, which would remove the recovered gray wolf from the endangered species list. 

Today's hearing allowed members to hear from local witnesses on these access issues and many others. To learn more, click here