U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., voted for a measure that he co-sponsored to increase sportsmen's access to public lands, protect special habitats and preserve hunting and fishing rights. The Senate voted 92-5 to move forward with consideration of the bill and will continue debating the measure this week.
More than 50 sportsmen's groups, including the National Rifle Association, support the measure.
"Our hunting and fishing heritage especially in West Virginia is so important to who we are as a nation," said Manchin, a member of the Congressional Sportmen's Caucus. "I truly believe that the people of West Virginia should be able to enjoy hunting and fishing on public lands, and this measure expands people's ability to go out and enjoy the outdoors."
Background on several provisions in the bill:
Making Public Lands Public: Funding will be made available to secure access and rights-of-way to public land that currently has significant hunting and fishing restrictions. A 2004 report to the House Committee on Appropriations found that found 35 million acres of public land had inadequate access for the public.
Target Practice and Marksmanship Training Support Act: The measure will make more funds available to states for longer periods of time to create and maintain shooting ranges in cooperation with state and local authorities.
The Hunting, Fishing and Recreational Shooting Protection Act: The measure excludes ammunition and fishing tackle from the Toxic Substances control Act.
Bows Transported through National Parks: The measure also allows bows to be transported through national parks.