AR: Wildlife and Sport Fish Restoration Program recognizes 75 years of wildlife conservation and partnership success

LITTLE ROCK – The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the
Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies, the Arkansas Game and
Fish Commission, as well as other partners are beginning a yearlong
celebration of the 75th anniversary of the Wildlife and Sport Fish
Restoration Program. The program is the most significant and
successful partnership approach to fish and wildlife conservation
in history.

The “WSFR 75 – It’s Your Nature” celebration brings together
federal and state fish and wildlife agencies; the hunting,
shooting, angling, and boating industries; and conservation groups
to mark a milestone of partnership success that has led to 75 years
of quality hunting, fishing, shooting, boating and wildlife-related
recreation. The occasion also marks the beginning of a new era in
wildlife conservation, during which the partners will establish new
goals for fostering and maintaining partnerships to continue
conservation and outdoor recreation into the next 75 years and
beyond.

“The Service is proud to join our partners in recognizing more than
seven decades of wildlife conservation and quality outdoor
recreational opportunities,” said USFWS Director Dan Ashe. “With
our nation’s support and our partnership’s renewed commitment, WSFR
will help more Americans enjoy wildlife and our great outdoors for
many years to come.”

The WSFR program is the fundraising foundation for several fish and
wildlife conservation programs. The first was created on Sept. 2,
1937 when President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed the Federal Aid in
Wildlife Restoration Act, which raises funds through a dedicated
excise tax on sporting guns and ammunition. In 1950, the Federal
Aid in Sport Fish Restoration Act was enacted and added to the WSFR
program. Through this law, funds are provided for fish conservation
and boating and fishing recreational programs in each state through
an excise tax placed on certain fishing and boating equipment and
fuels.

The support WSFR funds provide to fish and wildlife restoration and
management has been a great success.

“The partnerships between outdoor industry along with federal and
state agencies results in more opportunities for outdoor
enthusiasts to enjoy Arkansas’s fish and wildlife resources,” said
AGFC Director Loren Hitchcock.

These funds, administered by the USFWS, are combined with hunting
license dollars in each state to fund important state wildlife
conservation and hunting programs.

“The 75th anniversary of the WSFR program is a tremendous
opportunity to celebrate the conservation victories that have been
made possible because of this innovative funding approach,” said
Jonathan Gassett, Ph.D., AFWA president. “WSFR has made the
difference for the survival and abundance of some species, and
because of it, many fish and wildlife populations are at
historically high levels today.”

Industry and agency partnerships have helped the success of the
WSFR program to become what it is today.

The WSFR 75th anniversary will include participation in various
fish and wildlife conservation events and conferences throughout
the year, to culminate with National Hunting and Fishing Day in
September 2012.

For more information about the WSFR program and its 75th
Anniversary in 2012, visit:

• http://wsfrprograms.fws.gov/

• www.wsfr75.com

• Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/WSFR75

• Twitter: www.twitter.com/wsfr75

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