Sen. Mark Begich is the lead cosponsor of S. 1865, which will increase the price of the federal duck stamp to $25.
DU: The federal duck stamp price of $15 has not been raised since 1991. You recently introduced legislation to raise the price of the duck stamp. Why is it important to increase the price?
The duck stamp hasn’t been increased since 1991 and because of that it has lost its value in the sense of what it can purchase today. [It] ensures that we can protect wetlands and other critical habitat not only for duck hunting and preservation of our lands but also for communities [where] it’s critical to have this habitat. For us, it’s an important piece of legislation. We’re finding that each day we’re moving forward on it. If we don’t do this, we’ll lose more and more value and we’re lose more and more wetlands, and the protections that we need to ensure that duck hunters have the areas to hunt. When you think about this, it’s put hundreds of millions of dollars in preserving incredible habitat for us.
DU: What does the outdoor recreation industry mean to the state of Alaska?
Well it is an industry. It doesn’t matter who you talk to or where you go, you go all the way up north to Barrow or all of the way down south of the Ketchikan or the Aleutian Chain, wherever you go there are people who are part of the sporting community and part of the industry. It’s a big part of [Alaska’s] tourism. It seems like everywhere I go, no matter what time of year, there is some activity. It also puts Alaska on the map because we have a unique state for hunters and fishermen. Lots of people put this on their list; they need to go to Alaska as one of the places they want to go hunting or fishing. It doesn’t matter if you’re from the lower 48 or around the globe, it’s a big business for us and we’re very excited to be able to show off Alaska in this way.
Watch the full video interview on the DU YouTube channel