On March 1, Ryan Zinke was confirmed as the 52nd Secretary of the Interior under the Trump Administration, with a bipartisan vote of 68 – 31 in the Senate. Prior to his nomination, Zinke was an active Member of the Congressional Sportsmen’s Caucus (CSC), the largest bipartisan caucus in Congress and many of his CSC colleagues, including all four Senate CSC leaders, voted favorably.
Following his confirmation, Zinke met with representatives from sportsmen and other wildlife organizations today, including Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation (CSF) President Jeff Crane, to discuss how the Department will focus on sportsmen’s and other conservation priorities during this Administration. Zinke, an avid sportsman, has shown commitment to working with the sportsmen’s community to seek a balanced approach to natural resource and public land management. He also understands the important role that outdoor recreation, including hunting and fishing, plays in the conservation of fish and wildlife resources.
At today’s meeting, Zinke signed two Secretarial Orders benefitting the sportsmen’s community. Order 3346 overturns the recent ban lead ammunition and fish tackle used on Fish and Wildlife Service lands, waters, and facilities. Order 3347 advances conservation stewardship, improves game and habitat management, and increases outdoor recreation opportunities by directing bureaus and agencies to immediately identify areas where outdoor recreation can be expanded. The order also requests 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.
“”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 Secretary 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.””
“CSF looks forward to working closely with Secretary Zinke on developing a list of priorities that will protect and advance fish and wildlife and public lands conservation, as well as keep federal lands open for public access and recreation,” said Crane. “Today’s meeting on the Secretary’s first morning in office was a clear indication of his commitment to these shared goals.”
Prior to Zinke’s confirmation hearing before the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee on January 18, more than 40 of the nation’s leading hunting, fishing, and other conservation organizations expressed their support and encouraging a favorable vote within the Committee.
Secretary Ryan Zinke signing Secretarial Orders for sportsmen and women on Day One (Source: Department of the Interior)
Studies conducted at both the state and federal level have found that the number of hunters and trappers have been on a generally declining trend over the past several decades. To increase recruitment, retention, and reactivation (R3) of hunters and trappers, which initiative do you think would have the greatest impact?