Dale Bumpers White River National Wildlife Refuge (NWR) is seeking public comment on a proposal to increase the permit fee for the Refuge.

During the mid-1990s, in an effort to help offset program costs, a $12.50 permit fee was charged to successfully drawn hunters for each of the 2 quota deer hunts. Eighty percent of the revenue generated from the sale of these permits stays on Dale Bumpers White River NWR to help administer, maintain, and improve hunting, fishing, and other outdoor recreation on the Refuge.

This permit fee system has remained unchanged for more than 20 years, although the cost of operating and maintaining such a large and diverse program has increased significantly.

Beginning Aug. 1, Dale Bumpers White River NWR is proposing to require each person who is hunting, applying for quota hunts, fishing, launching a boat or utilizing a campground to possess an Annual Public Use Permit.

The permit fee will be $25 for those 16 years of age and over and free to all those 15 years of age and younger. Hunters will not be required to pay an additional permit fee if they are drawn for quota

hunts. Similar to the current system, the Annual Public Use Permit will be sold online. Also, 80 percent of the revenue generated from the sale of Annual Public Use Permits will remain at Dale Bumpers White River NWR to help defray the costs required to conduct, maintain and improve hunting, fishing, and other outdoor recreation, on the Refuge.

“We have one of the largest outdoor recreation, hunting and fishing programs in the southeast," Refuge Manager Charles “Bo” Sloan said. “This permit fee increase will provide more funding to help improve and maintain Refuge roads, trails, boat ramps, etc. that are vital to the public’s enjoyment of the Refuge.”

They are seeking public input regarding the proposed permit fee increase.

The complete Draft proposal is available at www.fws.gov/refuge/white_river. To comment, please write to: Dale Bumpers White River NWR, Attn: Refuge Manager, 57 S CC Camp Rd. St. Charles AR 72140 or by email to Whiteriver@fws.gov.

Comments are due by before April 30.