If you want to visit a national wildlife refuge, you may be asked to spend five minutes filling out a form. The Fish & Wildlife Service (FWS) wants to create a new National Wildlife Refuge Visitor Check-In Permit and Use Report.
It won’t ask every visitor to complete one; just 650,000 or so a year to help it keep track of activities in the refuges. FWS also doesn’t plan to require each refuge to use the form; some may choose to collect data in other ways.
FWS has asked the Office of Management and Budget for permission to use the form and it is taking public comments on its proposal until September 28.
For details on the form and where to send suggestions, see http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/FR-2012-08-29/html/2012-21269.htm.
FWS need to collect info on people who hunt, fish, take pictures, observe wildlife, try to learn about the environment and come to the refuge for any other purpose. FWS uses the data to help it manage resources and evaluate its visitor programs. It sometimes requires permits for activities such as hunting and fishing so it needs the information to determine the appropriate level, timing and locations of permits.
Visitors who complete the proposed form would have to list their name, address and contact information for safety purposes. Hunters and anglers would also have to report what (if anything) they bagged.
People would also have to list the date of the visit and the reason (hunting, fishing, hiking, boating, seeing the visitor center, observing wildlife, volunteering, taking an auto tour, environmental education, bird watching, a special event etc.).
FWS first proposed the idea two years ago and only one person commented. Now’s your second chance.