by Karen Mehall Phillips - Wednesday, January 20, 2016
Commemorating a 40-year career spent fighting for sportsmen’s access to public lands, NRA’s Susan Recce, director of NRA-ILA’s Conservation, Wildlife and Natural Resources Division, was presented with Outdoor Life’s 2016 Open Country Award this evening at the 3rd Annual Open Country Awards Reception at the Sands Expo and Convention Center in Las Vegas, Nev. The award honors esteemed individuals and groups working to help America’s sportsmen and women maintain access to places to hunt, fish and recreationally shoot.
“We like to imagine that access is created on the ground, where sportsmen can enjoy increased opportunities to hunt, fish and shoot, but the fact is that most access is created by legislation,” said OL Editor-in-Chief Andrew McKean. “Susan Recce has ensured with her long career in governmental affairs that sportsmen have a voice at tables where bills are crafted and where public access can either thrive or die. Under Susan's watchful eye, it has thrived, and we have millions more acres of accessible ground as the result of her work.”
Truly humbled at winning Open Country honors in the Individual award category, Recce said, “As private lands are being developed or otherwise closed to hunting and recreational shooting, access to public lands is becoming increasingly a more important issue. To complicate matters, hunting and shooting are often treated as activities not deserving the same level of importance given to other outdoor pursuits like hiking and camping. Anti-hunting and anti-gun bias of land managers who weren’t raised with these traditional American values has been a significant barrier to safeguarding the future of hunting and shooting on our public lands. Working with Federal and state land managers to resolve access related issues is paramount.”
In acknowledging the individuals and organizations she has had the privilege to work with through the years, Recce thanked the NRA for providing the resources to champion sportsmen’s access to our treasured public lands. As an Endowment member of the NRA, I couldn’t agree more!
“Our public lands are a national treasure and the envy of the world,” Recce added. “I would like to thank Outdoor Life for spotlighting the importance of protecting and preserving sportsmen’s access.
In addition to recognizing Recce as the 2016 Individual Open Country Award winner, honors went to the Pennsylvania Game Commission (State Agency Award), First Lite (Corporate Award) and Pigeon Lake Watershed Association (Nonprofit Award).
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