Special Report: Hunting Gets A Boost from The White House

"It's not an electronic screen," he said." "There are beautiful things in the outdoors.

"There is a trend line that is down on entry-level hiking, biking, hunting and fishing," he continued. "We want to reverse that. This effort by the President is one of the major steps forward with that. It's intended to lay a foundation for the next 10 years, " said James Connaughton, Chairman of the CEQ. "Whoever comes into the Presidency, whoever comes into the Congress will be given a strong set of recommendations from the community as to how we carry this work forward."

That's the beauty of the plan: It's bi-partisan, with the head of the CEQ calling for at least one mandatory follow-up meeting of the group every year.

"The most important thing is the ongoing measurement and assessment of our progress. This is really about generating real results over a meaningful period of time."

When questioned about specific plans that might be presented in September, Secretary Ed Shafer of the Department of Agriculture cited one that is already underway. "One of the recommendations is to put together a web page of all the different departments that shows available and accessible land--public land. "And there are other projects. One of the efforts is the coordination of state, local, federal and tribal agencies. "Every state has trust lands that are available for public access, " he continued. "Often, we don't even know where they are. And often, landowners around them don't tell you, either. "We need to make sure that we inventory the land, get it available, and get the public educated as to where the information is so they can go find the public land," Shafer concluded. When I asked the group if they foresaw the day when hikers and birdwatchers and others who use our public lands might also be taxed, there was general agreement that that is inevitable, especially with the recent enactment of recreation fee legislation by Congress. Theodore Roosevelt once stated that "It's not what we have that will make us a great nation, it is in the way in which use it." The September recommendations will go a long way toward that goal.

                    ###

Hunting heritage and wildlife conservation recommendations will be posted on fieldandstream.com/heritage as soon as they are available this month.