Interior Celebrates One Year Anniversary of Historic Conservation Law

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WASHINGTON – Today, the Department of the Interior celebrates the one-year anniversary of President Donald Trump signing into law the John D. Dingell Jr. Conservation, Management, and Recreation Act (P.L. 116-9). The Dingell Act is the single most important public lands management law to be passed in over a decade. The Act:

  • Encompassed more than 100 individual bills;
  • Permanently reauthorized the Land and Water Conservation Fund;
  • Created new Federal authorities to assist the Department in managing endangered and invasive species;
  • Called for increasing access to public lands for hunting, fishing and recreational shooting; and
  • Advanced a wide variety of other conservation and recreation initiatives for the American people.

“When President Donald Trump signed this conservation bill into law, he furthered his indelible legacy of balancing natural resources conservation and responsibly expanding recreation opportunities on our public lands,” said Secretary Bernhardt. “I am proud that the Department of the Interior and its bureaus have worked exhaustively this past year to meet our goals for implementing this historic public lands law for the American people.”

Soon after the bill was signed into law, Secretary Bernhardt signed Secretary’s Order 3374 establishing a task force to prioritize the implementation of the Dingell Act and ensure consistency among all offices and bureaus within the Department. Secretary Bernhardt’s Order required actionable steps be taken and an implementation plan created to make sure the Department met all timelines laid out by President Trump.

Sportsmen

  • The Bureau of Land Management (BLM), National Park Service (NPS) and Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) solicited public input as part of their efforts to identify inholding opportunities that will benefit from new or increased access routes for recreation, hunting and fishing on federal lands (Sec. 4105).
  • BLM is working with the City of Deadwood, South Dakota, to respond to their request for a shooting range utilizing the Recreation and Public Purpose Act process (Sec. 4104).
  • FWS opened or expanded a total of 1.4 million acres to hunting and fishing opportunities at 77 National Wildlife Refuges and 15 National Fish Hatcheries nationwide, for an available total of 381 National Wildlife Refuges.
  • BLM is clearing the way for the construction and operation of five recreational shooting sites to be built on public lands near the Phoenix metro area. The sites will provide active management, enhanced access and increased safety for shooting sports enthusiasts and other public land users near one of the most populated metro areas in the nation (Sec. 4104).
  • NPS established a policy for how to best utilize volunteers to assist in wildlife management activities (Sec. 2410).
  • BLM is working on improvements to wildlife corridors in partnership with local communities and the State of Wyoming. The Red Desert to Hoback mule deer migration corridor has been designated as a big game migration corridor by the State of Wyoming.

Recreation

  • BLM released a series of interactive online maps designed to promote climbing and other recreational opportunities on BLM-managed public lands.
  • NPS extended the Lewis and Clark National Historic trail 1,200 miles and moved its terminus from Wood River, Illinois to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
  • BLM is managing the newly-established 92,000-acre Spangler Hills Off-Highway Vehicle Area, which expanded motorized recreation in San Bernardino County, California by approximately 35,000-acres. BLM is now permitting competitive OHV events, some with over 200 racers, covering 40 miles of BLM-managed public lands in the new area.
  • BLM California has begun work on the newly established, 82,000-acre Vinagre Wash Special Recreation Management Area, public lands designated to enhance and preserve OHV recreation, horseback riding, mountain biking and hiking while preserving surrounding wilderness landscapes. Over 50 channel posts and signs have been installed around the Milpitas Wash, Palo Verde and Buzzards Peak wildernesses to guide and inform public recreation in Imperial County.
  • BLM is managing approximately 28,000 acres of public lands in the Juniper Flats area of San Bernardino County, California for public recreation. Juniper Flats, located between the Mojave Desert and the San Bernardino National Forest, encompasses a mix of public and private lands that host a variety of unique plants from both the desert and the mountains. The area provides public recreational opportunities for mountain biking, camping, hiking and off-highway vehicle trails.

Parks

  • NPS, FWS and BLM implemented the new Every Kid Outdoors Act by creating a website and announcing the new program at the Washington Monument and Yellowstone National Park (Sec. 9001).
  • NPS re-designated the Golden Spike National Historic Site (Sec. 2205).
  • NPS established the Pearl Harbor National Memorial as a distinct unit of the National Park System (Sec. 2206).
  • NPS opened the Statue of Liberty Museum to increase accessibility and enhance the visitor educational experience (Sec. 2206).

BLM, Department of Interior

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