Editor’s note: The following letter was sent to Gov. Phil Murphy on July 14:
Dear Governor Murphy,
We ask that the 21 Bureau of Lands Management maintenance employees in the Division of Fish and Wildlife (DWF) that are paid through the Hunters and Anglers Fund and/or federal Pittman-Robertson Act funds be immediately exempted from the state employee furlough and report back to work so that all Wildlife Management Areas (WMAs) are reopened.
The furloughing of these state employees will not save the State treasury any money. It is unfair to New Jersey’s sportsmen and sportswomen who pay the Hunters and Anglers Fund through licenses and other fees and the Pittman-Robertson Act funds through a federal excise tax on sporting arms and ammunition. In addition, the State of New Jersey should not be acting in a manner that puts this federal funding in jeopardy by closing WMAs. With a large number of recreational opportunities still closed, it is vital that our WMAs fully open so opportunities to enjoy the outdoors this summer remain.
Staff within the Division of Park and Forestry received an exemption from the furlough. We urge you to grant the DFW Bureau of Lands Management staff same exemption.
Thank you for your attention in this matter.
Senator Steven V. Oroho
Assemblyman F. Parker Space
Assemblyman Harold J. Wirths