Summary: H.R.2834 — 112th Congress (2011-2012)All Information (Except Text)

Bill summaries are authored by CRS.

Shown Here:
Reported to House amended, Part I (07/19/2012)

Recreational Fishing and Hunting Heritage and Opportunities Act - Requires federal public land management officials to exercise their authority under existing law, including provisions regarding land use planning, to facilitate the use of, and access to, federal public lands and waters for fishing, sport hunting, and recreational shooting, except as limited by: (1) statutory authority that authorizes or withholds action for reasons of national security, public safety, or resource conservation; (2) any other federal statute that specifically precludes recreational fishing, hunting, or shooting on specific federal public lands or waters; and (3) discretionary limitations on recreational fishing, hunting, and shooting determined to be necessary and reasonable as supported by the best scientific evidence and advanced through a transparent public process.

Requires the heads of federal public land management agencies to exercise their discretion in a manner that supports and facilitates recreational fishing, hunting, and shooting opportunities, to the extent authorized under applicable federal and state law.

Requires public land planning documents to include specific evaluations of the effects of such planning documents on opportunities to engage in recreational fishing, hunting, or shooting.

Prohibits actions taken under this Act, other than certain actions regarding rights-of-way, easements, or reservations within the National Wildlife Refuge System or enforcement actions concerning the System under the National Wildlife Refuge System Administration Act of 1966, from being considered to be a major federal action significantly affecting the quality of the human environment.

Prohibits federal public land management officials from being required to consider the existence or availability of recreational fishing, hunting, or shooting opportunities on adjacent or nearby public or private lands in the planning for, or determination of, which federal public lands are open for such activities or in the setting of levels of use for such activities, unless the combination or coordination of such opportunities would enhance the recreational fishing, hunting, or shooting opportunities available to the public.

Sets forth provisions concerning the use of volunteers in culling or managing wildlife populations on public land if hunting is prohibited on such land.

Requires Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and Forest Service lands, excluding lands on the Outer Continental Shelf, to be open to recreational fishing, hunting, and shooting unless the managing agency acts to close such lands to such activity for purposes of resource conservation, public safety, energy or mineral production, energy generation or transmission infrastructure, water supply facilities, protection of other permittees, protection or private property rights or interests, national security, or compliance with other law.

Requires the heads of federal agencies to use their authorities consistently with this Act to: (1) lease their lands or permit use of their lands for shooting ranges, and (2) designate specific lands for recreational shooting activities. Prohibits such designation from subjecting the United States to any civil action or claim for damages for injury or loss of property or personal injury or death caused by any activity occurring at or on such designated land.

Declares that the provision of opportunities for hunting, fishing, recreational shooting, and the conservation of fish and wildlife to provide sustainable use recreational opportunities on designated wilderness areas on federal public lands constitutes the measures necessary to meet the minimum requirements for the administration of such areas.

Provides that any requirements imposed by the Wilderness Act shall be implemented only insofar as they do not prevent federal public land management officials and state fish and wildlife officials from carrying out and facilitating the original or primary purposes for which the federal public lands or federal public land unit was established.

Requires biennial reports on closures of federal public lands to recreational fishing, sport hunting, or shooting. Sets forth requirements for a permanent or temporary withdrawal, change of classification, or change of management status that effectively closes or significantly restricts 640 or more contiguous acres of federal public lands for fishing or hunting or related activities. Treats separate withdrawals or changes, the aggregate or cumulative effect of which effectively closes or significantly restricts 1280 or more acres of land or water, as a single withdrawal or change for purposes of such requirements.

Provides that nothing in this Act prohibits a federal land management agency from establishing or implementing emergency closures or restrictions of the smallest practicable area to provide for public safety, resource conservation, national security, or other purposes authorized by law. Requires such an emergency closure to terminate after a reasonable period unless converted to a permanent closure consistent with this Act.