On his first day in office, Department of the Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke issued two secretarial orders that expand access to public lands and increase hunting, fishing, and recreation opportunities nationwide. These orders deliver on promises made by both President Donald J. Trump and Secretary Zinke to expand access to America’s public lands. The action was hailed by representatives from sportsmen, conservation, and recreation organizations.
“Outdoor recreation is about both our heritage and our economy. Between hunting, fishing, motorized recreation, camping and more, the industry generates thousands of jobs and billions of dollars in economic activity,” said Zinke. “Over the past eight years however, hunting and recreation enthusiasts have seen trails closed and dramatic decreases in access to public lands across the board. It worries me to think about hunting and fishing becoming activities for the land-owning elite. This package of secretarial orders will expand access for outdoor enthusiasts and also make sure the community’s voice is heard.”
The two secretarial orders include:
- Secretarial Order No. 3346 overturns the recent ban lead ammunition and fish tackle used on Fish and Wildlife Service lands, waters, and facilities. The order highlights the need for additional review and consultation with local stakeholders.
- Secretarial Order No. 3347 advances conservation stewardship, improves game and habitat management, and increases outdoor recreation opportunities by directing bureaus and agencies to immediately identify areas where recreation and fishing can be expanded. The order also requests input from the Wildlife and Hunting Heritage Conservation Council and Sport Fishing and Boating Partnership Council to provide recommendations on enhancing and expanding access on public lands and improving habitat for fish and wildlife.
Secretary Zinke held his first meeting with external partners – a collection of sportsmen and parks and recreation advocates. Several members of the Outdoor Recreation Industry Roundtable played key roles in that meeting.
“Secretary Zinke proved on day one his commitment to greater recreation access on our public lands with his actions and comments,” said Derrick Crandall, president of the American Recreation Coalition. “This nation has led the world on parks and conservation matters for well over 100 years. And we are excited that the nation’s new Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke has the passion, the vision and the energy to continue this leadership from this important post. After talking with him, you can’t mistake his pride in our outdoors legacy and his passion for keeping future Americans active in the outdoors. He will unite and grow the advocacy for America’s Great Outdoors.”
The initial session was short, but discussion on these issues will continue to be a key part of the secretary’s work going forward. ORIR will play an active role in generating and submitting new ideas to improve visitor services and recreation infrastructure that can be implemented quickly.
National Marine Manufacturers Association President Thom Dammrich, who attended the meeting, said, “Americans love their great outdoors and the Department of Interior is responsible for much of the public lands and waters where Americans recreate. The new Secretary of Interior Ryan Zinke understands the importance of the outdoor recreation economy and the value of welcoming Americans to our public lands to enjoy a variety of recreation activities, while conserving them for future generations as well. The NMMA looks forward to working with Secretary Zinke to make our public lands inviting places for all Americans and improving fishing and boating opportunities.”
“Our country is unique in that all its citizens have access to our public lands and waters,” said Mike Nussman, president and CEO of the American Sportfishing Association. “The Department of the Interior holds a unique positon as the lead steward for many of these special places. We are pleased to have Secretary Zinke, an avid outdoorsman, in charge of these important resources!”
Prior to the meeting with the new Cabinet member, the conservation and recreation leaders spent time with Acting Deputy Secretary Jim Cason and lead for the Interior “Beachhead Team” Doug Domenech. Discussions included the status of other key Interior appointments and the budget process, which will include defining Trump Administration priorities. The message is clear that Interior is now in motion and recreation is a priority.
Many of the ORIR members returned to Interior as the secretary hosted a much larger group representing the diverse interests that work with the department. Also attending the reception was the new Interior leads on external affairs, communications and Congressional liaison.