The federal government announced a major expansion of hunting and fishing into wildlife refuges across the country on Wednesday, including 74 previously protected wildlife refuges and 15 national fish hatcheries.
Among the wildlife refuges named in the expansion, seven are located in Northern California.
The announcement was made by U.S. Interior Secretary David Bernhardt, who sited “access” and “conservation” as the primary reason behind the expansion.
â€œItâ€™s a dramatic statement about our commitment to access,â€Â Bernhardt said in a statement. â€œHunting and fishing are more than just traditional pastimes as they are also vital to the conservation of our lands and waters, our outdoor recreation economy, and our American way of life.”
The plan to open 1.4 million acres of land to hunting and fishing is currently under review, with the goal of finalizing the proposal in September 2019.
“These refuges and hatcheries provide incredible opportunities for sportsmen and women and their families across the country to pass on a fishing and hunting heritage to future generations and connect with wildlife,â€ said Bernhardt.
Here are all the Northern California wildlife refuges listed in the expansion plan:
Colusa National Wildlife Refuge: Open to wild turkey hunting for the first time on 1,639 acres already open to other hunting.
Delevan National Wildlife Refuge: Open to wild turkey hunting for the first time on 1,696 acres already open to other hunting.
Marin Islands National Wildlife Refuge: Open to sport fishing for the first time.
Sacramento National Wildlife Refuge: Open to wild turkey hunting for the first time on 1,371 acres already open to other hunting.
San Pablo Bay National Wildlife Refuge: Expand season date ranges and method of take for existing migratory game bird hunting on 9,726 acres to further align with state regulations.
Stone Lakes National Wildlife Refuge: Open sport fishing for the first time on acres already open to other activities.
Sutter National Wildlife Refuge: Open to wild turkey hunting for the first time on 839 acres already open to other hunting.
What do you think? Is this a good expansion or a troubling move into protected areas?
For the full list of wildlife refuges included in the expansion, go here.