October 07, 2013
National Wildlife Refuges Closed to Sportsmen, But Not to Energy Extractors
By Bob Marshall
Photograph courtesy of NWRA.
The government shutdown has cancelled hunting and fishing on national wildlife refuges in Louisiana – but not the business of extracting oil and gas form those same properties, according to a report from the National Wildlife Refuge Association (NWRA).
Hunters arriving last week for the opening of bow season on Black Bayou Lake NWR were greeted by the refuge manager explaining the property was closed to their use – as this sign clearly states.
"There are about 2000 active wells on 260 refuges nationwide but the key areas are in Louisiana Texas, Mississippi, North Dakota and Alaska, none of which were forced to close due to the shutdown even while hunters and anglers were being turned away," said Desirée Sorenson-Groves, Vice President for Government Affairs at the NWRA.
However, closure policies during the shutdown are not uniform throughout federal agencies. For example, the Bureau of Land Management closure plan noted activities that did not require active management would be allowed.
Sportsmen are urged to check with local offices of federal agencies before trips.