Ranking Member Stabenow Applauds USDA Investment to Increase Hunting Opportunities in Northern Michigan

Monday, August 17, 2015

U.S. Senator Debbie Stabenow, Ranking Member of the U.S. Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry, today applauded the U.S. Department of Agriculture's nearly $1 million investment to increase hunting and wildlife conservation opportunities in Northern Michigan. This support for the Michigan Department of Natural Resources was made possible by the Natural Resources Conservation Service's Voluntary Public Access and Habitat Incentive Program. This program was extended in the 2014 Farm Bill, which was authored by Senator Stabenow and signed into law by President Obama last spring.

"Outdoor recreation is part of our Michigan way of life and contributes billions to our state's economy," said Senator Stabenow. "These funds will give Michigan hunters greater access to Michigan's diverse habitats and forests while encouraging partnerships between landowners and hunters, anglers and other outdoor enthusiasts."

The Michigan Department of Natural Resources will receive $951,400 to expand an existing hunting access program into the Northern Lower Peninsula to increase hunting opportunities. This project will also improve wildlife habitats by enhancing grassland, forest, and food plots. Today's announcement is part of a $20 million investment in 15 state agencies to improve wildlife habitat and increase public access for recreational opportunities. A complete list of recipients can be found here.

The Voluntary Public Access and Habitat Incentive Program encourages owners to voluntarily allow outdoor enthusiasts greater access to their privately owned land for hunting, bird watching, fishing, and hiking. According to a 2013 study by the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, outdoor recreation supports 6.1 million direct jobs across the country and $646 billion in spending each year. Deer hunting alone attracts more than 700,000 hunters to Michigan each year and contributes billions of dollars to the state's economy.