Sportsmen oppose shift in land management

November 19, 1995|By Peter Baker | Peter Baker,SUN STAFF

The Maryland Federation of Sportsmen's Clubs met recently with federal officials to protest the Department of Natural Resources' decision to transfer management of a number of state Wildlife Management Areas to its State Forest and Parks Service.

The primary concern of the sportsmen's federation is that the transfer of public lands could jeopardize the scope of federal funding in Maryland for fish and wildlife programs.

Federal funds are generated by the sales of hunting and fishing licenses and excise taxes on fishing and hunting gear.

Federal funds from these sources must be used for fish and wildlife management.

In a meeting with three state legislators and Robert J. Sousa, division chief for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, federation officials asked that the USFWS review its preliminary approval of the pilot program and audit Maryland's use of federal funds earmarked for fish and wildlife management. The federation also asked that federal funds be withheld until an audit has been completed.

The federation also asked that a Sportsmen's Oversight Committee be appointed and charged with monitoring the use of federal funds in Maryland.

After announcing the pilot project, DNR Secretary John R. Griffin said Maryland will not jeopardize its federal funding.

The aim of the changeover, Griffin said, "is better integration of activities on all state lands, irrespective of what [those lands] happen to be titled."

Annapolis to Bermuda

The biennial Annapolis-to-Bermuda sailing race will start on June 14, and will be open to 50 yachts with PHRF ratings. For entry information, write to: Bermuda Ocean Race, Eastport Yacht Club, P.O. Box 3205, Annapolis, Md. 21403.

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