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Lt. Gov. John Fetterman is collecting feedback on recreational marijuana legalization. Are you for legalization? Against legalization? Submit your thoughts.

Lt. Gov. John Fetterman is collecting feedback on recreational marijuana legalization. Submit your thoughts.

BLOG: Happy Hunting! Let Your Voice Be Heard

By: Robb Miller, Governor’s Advisor for Hunting, Fishing and Conservation

November 30, 2015

Last week, Governor Wolf announced that he had signed Executive Order 2015-13 to formally re-establish both the Governor’s Advisory Council for Hunting, Fishing and Conservation and the Governor’s Youth Council for Hunting, Fishing and Conservation. As we head into deer season, reestablishing the Advisory Council will ensure the Governor is getting good feedback from the sportsmen community.

Here in Pennsylvania, we’re blessed with abundant natural resources that create widespread recreational opportunities for all outdoor recreationalists.  About 6.4 million people in Pennsylvania enjoy hunting and fishing, or some other form of outdoor recreation like birdwatching, nature photography, hiking, camping, and boating. These healthy, family-based activities not only improve our quality of life, they enhance our economic well-being.

Outdoor recreation in Pennsylvania accounts for $21.5 billion in consumer spending and supports 219,000 direct jobs.  Our hunters and anglers spend about $1.5 billion annually, creating a ripple effect on our economy valued at $2.5 billion; they support roughly the same number of jobs as are provided by our third largest employer, Penn State University.

Because these activities are such a rich part of our heritage and because we need to move carefully and deliberately as we make important decisions regarding our natural resources, Governor Wolf’s executive order re-established two volunteer advisory councils, to give our hunters and anglers a voice in the way we protect the resources they care so much about.

First formed in 1985, the Governor’s Advisory Council for Hunting, Fishing and Conservation will be comprised of twenty Pennsylvania residents who will offer recommendations and advice on a range of outdoor-related issues, including pending legislation.  Among the council’s specific duties will be to recruit, screen and recommend nominees for the boards of the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission and the Pennsylvania Game Commission.

Our two wildlife agencies are sustained primarily from the license fees hunters and anglers pay and from various federal excise taxes they’re charged when they purchase things like firearms, ammunition, fishing tackle, trolling motors and watercraft.

Since 1938 when the Pittman-Robertson Act first went into effect, hunters and target shooters across America have provided more than $9 Billion to purchase land for wildlife habitat, preserving open space for all citizens, not just those who hunt and fish.  And the Federal Aid in Sport Fish Restoration Act collects about $1 Billion annually at the national level, providing the Fish and Boat Commission with about $13 million annually to help it fulfill its mission.

The Governor’s Youth Council for Hunting, Fishing and Conservation will be made up of twenty youth from around the Commonwealth, ages 14-18, and will be asked to provide the Governor with innovative ideas about how best to engage today’s youth, and future generations, in the conservation of our natural resources and the enhancement our outdoor heritage

Individuals interested in volunteering for either council should send a resume and detailed cover letter explaining their desire to serve to Robb Miller, Governor’s Advisory Council for Hunting, Fishing and Conservation, 400 Market St., 7th Floor, Harrisburg, PA 17101-2301.  Individuals can also email their information to me at robmille@pa.gov. The selection process is expected to be competitive and the deadline for applications is January 1, 2016.

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