Gov. Tom Wolf has signed Executive Order 2015-13 to formally establish both the Governor’s Advisory Council for Hunting, Fishing and Conservation and the Governor’s Youth Council for Hunting, Fishing and Conservation.
“Hunting, fishing and outdoor recreation is an important part of Pennsylvania’s civic and cultural life,” Gov. Wolf said. “I look forward to hearing from and working with Pennsylvanians who equally cherish these rich traditions. This executive order will help solidify the important role of outdoors enthusiasts in my administration’s policies and priorities.”
While attending the annual kickoff event for a statewide venison donation program called Hunters Sharing the Harvest, Department of Conservation and Natural Resources Secretary Cindy Dunn announced the Governor’s executive order and spoke about the importance of hunters, anglers and outdoors enthusiasts.
“As the Thanksgiving holiday approaches I wanted to take a moment to thank our hunters and anglers for all they’ve done over the years to support conservation,” Secretary Dunn said. “Today, we’ve learned about how hunters work to end hunger by making venison donations to local food banks and needy families through the Hunters Sharing the Harvest program. These activities are such a rich part of our heritage and this executive orders ensures we will move carefully and deliberately as we make important decisions regarding our natural resources.”
The Governor’s Advisory Council for Hunting, Fishing and Conservation will be comprised of 20 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.
The Governor’s Youth Council for Hunting, Fishing and Conservation will be made up of 20 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.
“Here in Pennsylvania, we’re blessed with abundant natural resources that create widespread recreational opportunities for all outdoor recreationalists,” Dunn said. “About 6.4 million people in Pennsylvania enjoy some form of outdoor recreation, like birdwatching, nature photography, hiking, camping, boating and these healthy, family based activities not only improve our quality of life, they enhance our economic well-being.”
Pennsylvania’s 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.
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.
High school students (ages 14-18) who are interested in volunteering to serve on the youth council should email their applications, cover letters, and resumes to Robb Miller, Governor’s Advisor for Hunting, Fishing, and Conservation at firstname.lastname@example.org; and Tim Brandt, Coordinator – Governor’s Youth Council for Hunting, Fishing, and Conservation at email@example.com. The selection process is expected to be competitive, and the deadline for submitting applications is Sept. 15, 2016.
Applications are available HERE.
A copy of the executive order can be viewed HERE.