Sportsmen's Heritage and Recreational Enhancement Act of 2015

Floor Speech

Date: Feb. 25, 2016
Location: Washington, DC


Mr. BENISHEK. Madam Chair, I rise today in support of H.R. 2406, the Sportsmen's Heritage and Recreational Enhancement Act of 2015, or the SHARE Act.

This legislation is vital in ensuring that Federal agencies like the U.S. Forest Service and the Bureau of Land Management can no longer continue to prevent or deny full access to Federal lands for activities like hunting, fishing, and recreational shooting.

Access to public, Federal lands for these heritage activities is not only an important part of our shared American value, it is also a significant contributor to national, State, and local economies.

In 2011, in the State of Michigan alone, over 1.9 million hunters and anglers spent over $4.8 billion in hunting and fishing. To put this in perspective, spending by sportsmen and -women in Michigan generates over $576 million in State and local taxes each year. That is enough to support the average salaries of over 10,000 police officers.

Madam Chair, when I was a kid, my family owned a small hotel and bar. I worked by making beds, by filling ice buckets, and by hauling beer in order to save for college. Our business depended on hunters in the fall and winter and on fishermen in the summer. Without those sportsmen, we would have had no small business.

There are small businesses like this all over northern Michigan and across America today. There are also grandparents, parents, and children all across the country who are excited for their next hunting and fishing adventures.

That is why we must make sure that we do everything possible to ensure access to public lands for hunting, fishing, and recreational shooting for all Americans, including for future generations to come.

Madam Chair, I urge my colleagues to support the SHARE Act.