JOINT BASE LEWIS-McCHORD, Wash. – A computer and smartphone-based platform for all outdoor recreation activities on Joint Base Lewis-McChord training ranges, called iSportsman, will launch July 1.
“iSportsman is a comprehensive outdoor recreation management system that will improve the user experience through streamlined account registration, simple permit purchasing, interactive map to display open areas, increased user education and awareness, quick and easy harvest reporting and much more," said Dennis Buckingham, Directorate of Public Works biologist and Hunting and Fishing program manager. “It will also provide a great deal of functionality for game managers, range schedulers, event coordinators and downrange enforcement folks.”
According to Buckingham, all users whether new to recreating on JBLM or seasoned veterans, are required to create an account and manage their activities through iSportsman. You can start creating an account by visiting jblm.isportsman.net starting June 1.
All current training range access passes will expire June 30, and JBLM outdoor enthusiasts must have an iSportsman account to continue recreating on JBLM.
“I think most users will find it much better than the current system once they adjust to the change,” said Buckingham. “We'll be opening more areas than ever before, you can see immediately what's open and how many open spots are available; it's much safer with real-time alerts for hazardous conditions or sudden closures, and all the fees will be going directly to species and habitat conservation on the installation in accordance with the Sikes Act.
“My vision for the downrange recreation program at JBLM is that it can be, and should be, one of the very best in the Department of Defense. My hope is that once people adjust, they will feel part of something special."
There will be fee increases that will require a bit of adjustment, but are in keeping with other installations, and permit prices are going up across the DOD. JBLM's new recreation fees are approved by the garrison commander in accordance with Army policy and will be used to build a better program over the coming years, according to Buckingham.
The permits and prices are in the attached graphic.
"An early release of the brochure has been met with mixed reactions as many people are actually excited about the increases as it will reduce negligent and unlawful use of the landscape,” said Buckingham. “Again, my hope is that people will give it time and judge the new program on its longer-term achievements."
Although new to JBLM, iSportsman has been around for a few years and is available at some military bases such as Fort Carson, Colo., Fort Riley, Kansas, and Fort Jackson, S.C., among others.
“I would recommend iSportsman,” said Sgt. 1st Class Steven Majors, an avid hunter stationed at Fort Riley, who used the platform when stationed at Fort Jackson. “iSportsman, for each base, has a library of useful recreation maps that can be used for a variety of activities. The safety briefs that are mandatory also provide an abundance of information on what activities are available on post and how to do them.”
Majors added that first-time users should expect a relatively user-friendly computer and smartphone-based platform.
JBLM has some of the rarest and most diverse ecosystems in western Washington. From the Nisqually River to Puget Lowland Prairies, Oregon White Oak Woodlands, and upland conifer forests with fish-bearing streams, artesian wetlands, and kettle lakes throughout, there is something for everyone, according to DPW’s Environmental Division’s Fish and Wildlife Branch.
iSportsman is the leading recreational program management solution in the nation, serving as the enterprise-level provider for the U.S. Army and U.S. Air Force's hunting, fishing, and firewood permit sales programs, as well as providing services to the U.S. Marine Corp, Army National Guard, and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services.
iSportsman currently manages permit sales, access control, reporting and more for over 10.6 million acres of forest, fields, trails and waterways across the continental United States, Alaska, and Hawaii. For more information, visit https://isportsman.com and https://home.army.mil/lewis-mcchord/index.php/my-Joint-Base-Lewis-Mcchord/all-services/public_works-environmental_division/hunting-and-fishing.