[CQ-Contest] USFWL NWR Denials To Amateur Radio

Eric Hilding dx35 at hilding.com
Sat Sep 18 04:40:00 EDT 2004

*NOTE: This is of critical importance to  CONTEST-Peditioners, 
DX-Peditioners & IOTA-Xpeditioners ***  (All others may wish to hit the 
delete key now) ***

There has been an alarming number of "denials" by the U.S. Fish & Wildlife 
(USFWL a/k/a FWS) Agency via their National Wildlife Refuge (NWR) Managers 
for access permission requests from Amateur Radio operators for 
CONTEST-Peditions, DX-Peditions and IOTA-Xpeditions.  One generic reason 
stated appears to be for alleged "incompatible use", but without factual 
substantiating evidence by the NWR Managers.

NWR areas include not only Navassa & Desecho Islands, but Islands in the 
Pacific desirable for similar Amateur Radio CONTEST-Pedition, DX-Pedition & 
IOTA-Xpedition purposes.  My specific battle-in-process involves access 
permission for The Farallon Islands (IOTA NA-178) which is less than 2 
hours from where I live.

I've had numerous discussion with the Staff Director of the Sub-Committee 
within the U.S. House of Representatives' "Committee On Resources" 
regarding this general problem, and believe an opportunity exists to help 
see some desperately needed changes result to the benefit of the Amateur 
Radio Community.  The Committee on Resources oversees activities of the 
Department of Interior (DOI) and the USFWL, and they are aware of the 
unacceptable  "problem" with USFWL denials for access in various NWRs.

A major meeting took place in Washington, D.C. on 9/14/04 between 
bi-partisan sub-committee personnel and high ranking officials from the 
USFWL.  The USFWL has clearly been making decisions out-of-harmony with the 
intent of both the National Wildlife Refuge Administration Act of 1966 and 
the National Wildlife Refuge System Improvement Act of 1997.  IMHO, the 
USFWL is finally going to (deservingly) get "hammered".  But more factual 
documentation from the Amateur Radio community will be of critical 
importance as the plot thickens.  A second follow-up meeting will take 
place in a week or two.

Further, I just filed "Comments" in a USFWL matter involving "Special Use 
Permit Applications for Wildlife Areas Outside Alaska".  This information 
will also go to the OMB, and both the House and Senate Sub-Committees have 
received copies, additionally highlighting the problem.

PLEASE...if you have ever been denied access permission for a 
CONTEST-Pedition (or any other  Ham Radio purposes) by ANY Manager of an 
NWR, I need this info ASAP to include as supplementary facts for the 
sub-committee.   Hopefully, our efforts will inure to the  benefit of the 
Amateur Radio community as a whole.

"Time is of the Essence" in gathering and consolidating these additional 
facts prior to the next high-level meeting, as well as for additional 
comments  to the USFWL Division of Policy and Directives Management and any 
other venue which may help effecutate a resolution of the access blockage 
to Amateur Radio.

If you haven't  experienced this problem personally,  but know anyone 
(individual or group) who has, PLEASE pass this info along to them ASAP 
with a request for immediate action (Contest Clubs, DX Clubs,
etc., etc.).

For specific information on what is needed and were to send it, please see:


Tnx very much for your QRQ assistance.

73 & "Good luck in the contest, OM!"

Rick ("Locust") Hilding, K6VVA
* Co-Founder, Northern California Contest Club

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