Zinke Signs Secretarial Order Supporting Sportsmen and Coordination with States

Zinke Signs Secretarial Order Supporting Sportsmen and Coordination with States

On September 15, Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke signed Secretarial Order 3356 that strengthens the Department of the Interior’s commitment to sportsmen’s issues and wildlife management. There are three main components of the order including directives to improve wildlife management and access on departmental lands; increase participation in fishing, hunting, and outdoor recreation; and enhance cooperation with state and local partners.

Fishing on public land in the Pacific Northwest

Hunting and fishing is a cornerstone of the American tradition and hunters and fishers of America are the backbone of land and wildlife conservation. The more people we can get outdoors, the better things will be for our public lands,” said Secretary Zinke. “Today’s Secretarial Order is the latest example of how the Trump Administration is actively moving to support hunting and other forms of outdoor recreation on public lands. This means finding ways to expand hunting and fishing on public lands, improving access, and taking necessary actions to facilitate the enjoyment of these time-honored activities by any member of our society.”

Recognizing that access to federal public lands is essential for outdoor recreation, the order directs bureaus to ensure that land management planning processes increase or expand recreational access. In addition, the order encourages easements or acquisitions from willing landowners that will open public lands that currently have limited access. The directive calls for a “one stop” public website to provide information about opportunities for hunting, fishing, and recreational shooting on department lands. There is also a provision calling for the use of best available science to guide siting decisions for future projects on department lands to minimize potential negative impacts on wildlife.

Another key component of the order is to support efforts to increase participation in traditional outdoor recreation activities through grants or cooperative agreements. These provisions are intended to support recruitment, retention, and reactivation (R3) efforts that are being coordinated through state agencies as well as the outdoor recreation industry. Activities could include supporting military veteran, minority, or youth recruitment programs as well as hunting, fishing, and recreational shooting mentor programs.

Finally, the order includes provisions that reflect an emphasis on partnering with state and tribal wildlife agencies as well as non-profit organizations for collaborative conservation efforts. The order calls on department bureaus to collaborate with states on integrating habitat and wildlife management objectives into land management planning. In addition, the order calls for coordinating with states on the efforts to identify opportunities for increased access. There are also specific provisions that would facilitate habitat restoration projects for sage grouse and mule deer as well as an emphasis on increasing migratory waterfowl populations through habitat conservation.

“The more people we can get outdoors, the better things will be for our public lands,” Zinke concluded. “As someone who grew up hunting and fishing on our public lands - packing bologna sandwiches and heading out at 4AM with my dad - I know how important it is to expand access to public lands for future generations. Some of my best memories are hunting deer or reeling in rainbow trout back home in Montana, and I think every American should be able to have that experience.”

Photo Credit
Bureau of Land Management, Flickr
September 15, 2017