Over 100 executives respresenting recreational groups have praised Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke’s leadership at his respective department. In an ad printed in the Wall Street Journal, the executives had this to say about Zinke’s leadership.
“In his first 100 days in office, President Donald Trump is setting an agenda to emphasize and prioritize outdoor recreation on federal lands, highlighted by selecting former Montana Con- gressman Ryan Zinke as Secretary to lead the Department of the Interior and donating his first quarter salary to the National Park Service,” the letter said.
It added, “The President’s proposals open the door for greater access to public lands for recreation and increased investment to overcome some $20 billion in deferred maintenance – something prior Administrations of both parties have not resolved.”
“The outdoor recreation industry is also en- couraged by the President’s willingness to tackle America’s long-term infrastructure challenges. His promise of a trillion dollar infrastructure initiative will increase access to the nation’s rec- reation lands through better bridges, roads, waterways, and restored infrastructure within our nation’s parks. Furthermore, visitors would realize vastly improved connectivity, which will boost outdoor safety and enjoyment.”
The letter’s signees represent most sectors of the outdoor recreation industry, which is appraised at $887 billion in worth. The activities they represent include fishing, shooting sports, hunting, archery, camping, marine, motorcycle, powersports, hospitality and recreation vehicle usage.
The executives comprise the Outdoor Recreation Industry Roundtable, which aims to expand recreational opportunities and subsequent enjoyment on all federal lands and waters. Here’s their full list of goals:
- Identify and promote recreation business champions to be appointed/nominated to the Trump Administration.
- Remove barriers from establishing public-private partnerships as entrepreneurial mechanisms for addressing deferred maintenance, including modernizing campgrounds on federal lands to better fit the needs of current and next-generation campers/RVers.
- Work with Congress to include a recreation title in the forthcoming “Infrastructure Bill” and other legislation to address various recreation infrastructure issues.
- Promote tax reform to support and grow the outdoor recreation industry.
- Identify onerous regulations and remove policy barriers that are negatively affecting outdoor recreation businesses and consumers.
- Fast track the implementation of the Outdoor Recreation Jobs and Economic Impact (REC) Act to ensure the primary drivers of the outdoor recreation economy across the U.S. are recognized.
- Prioritize federal agency budgets on recreation-related infrastructure improvement, because outdoor recreation is the largest driver of economic activity on federal lands.
- Develop and deploy a digital information strategy for outdoor recreation on federal lands, including increased Wi-Fi coverage and easy-to-use apps to book campground/RV sites.
- Change the mindset of federal agencies so recreational access and high-quality visitor experiences are prioritized.
As I’ve written before, it’s encouraging to see someone like Zinke at the helms of this department. Not only is he making it more accountable and efficient, it’s returning DOI to its true conservation roots. I’ll continue to follow DOI developments and write about them here at The Resurgent.