The recent government shutdown has Alaskan lawmakers up in arms over the prevention of hunting on federal lands in the state of Alaska. Citing a 1980 law that guarantees state residents access to these lands, lawmakers are criticizing U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Alaskan Senator Lisa Murkowski sums up the frustration, stating, “It seems that agencies are working harder to keep people off federal lands than they have ever worked before to get them to visit federal lands.”
Alaska officials are particularly incensed that the National Park Service and the Bureau of Land Management have left their lands open for hunting and fishing, while the Fish and Wildlife Service closed its lands. This discrepancy across agencies has led some lawmakers to question the management of the shutdown. They also point to the Alaska National Interest Land Conservation Act, which requires the government to give full notice before shutting down access.
Alaska is not the only state suffering under the shutdown. Across the nation, the closure of parks and other federal lands means inconvenience to many planned visits as well as disappointment with the decision-making processes in the federal government. While much of the entire federal government is closed, the parks and other federal lands are attention, particularly since the current administration has closed down areas that remained open during previous shutdowns. For example, during the 1995 and 1996 federal shutdowns, Arizona worked out an agreement to keep the Grand Canyon open with state and private funds. However, during this shutdown, the Interior Department rejected that approach.
Oregon Senator Ron Wyden summed up the sentiment of many lawmakers and citizens, “To me the lesson in all of this is, one, it’s urgent in terms of getting the government open again, two, we need to work together to fund the government.”
Source: Washington Times
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