DOI Secretary Zinke Confirmed, Expands Public Land Access on First Day

DOI Secretary Zinke Confirmed, Expands Public Land Access on First Day

The new Secretary of the Interior, Ryan Zinke, was confirmed on March 1, and on his first day in office he signed a secretarial order expanding outdoor recreational access to federal public lands. The purpose of Secretarial Order 3347 is to “enhance conservation stewardship, increase outdoor recreation, and improve the management of game species and their habitat.” Specifically, the order requests a report on efforts that have been taken as well as barriers to implementation of increased recreational access. The report will be reviewed by the Secretary as well as the Wildlife and Hunting Heritage Conservation Council and the Sport Fishing and Boating Partnership Council. The Councils will then provide recommendations on specific actions to expand recreational hunting and fishing access, increase cooperation and consultation with state fish and wildlife agencies, improve fish and wildlife habitat, and facilitate greater public access to all Department lands.

“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.” 

In addition, Zinke signed an order reversing a ban on lead ammunition and fishing tackle on Fish and Wildlife Service lands that was signed on the final day of the previous administration. Zinke’s order cited that Director’s Order 219 was “issued without significant communication, consultation, or coordination with affected stakeholders.” The new secretarial order highlights the need for additional review and consultation with these stakeholders.

March 17, 2017