TWS Leads Effort Responding to Refuge System Legislation

By Colleen Hartel

Scenic Image Credit: Ken Tape, USFWS

TWS led efforts to submit a letter to both House and Senate committees considering H.R. 2016 and S.1081, the “Refuge from Cruel Trapping Act.” The letter was signed onto by 32 additional organizations, including the National Wildlife Refuge Association and sportsmen’s organizations that are part of the American Wildlife Conservation Partners.

The letter outlines the organizations’ chief concerns with the legislation, including limiting wildlife management and research methodologies as well as reducing recreational opportunities by prohibiting the use of foothold, snare, and body-gripping traps on refuge lands.

The National Wildlife Refuge Administration Act of 1966 and National Wildlife Refuge Improvement Act of 1997 established the System and identified wildlife-dependent recreationists as the priority public user of the land.

Government Affairs staff from TWS and the National Wildlife Refuge Association also met with both Congresswoman Lowey’s and Senator Booker’s offices to discuss the implications of the bill if it proceeded in its current form before sending the letter.

Similar versions of this legislation have been introduced in previous sessions of Congress. In the current session, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service provided testimony during a hearing to the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works expressing concern over the bill.

TWS’s standing position on Traps, Trapping, and Furbearer Management is supportive of regulated trapping as techniques in wildlife management and research as well as a recreational use of wildlife as public trust resources.

Colleen Hartel is a policy intern at The Wildlife Society as part of the Government Affairs & Partnership program.

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