Interior Will Shrink, Not Eliminate, Some National Monuments Under Review

The Associated Press is reporting the Department of Interior’s review of the Antiquities Act of 1906 will result in the shrinking, not elimination, of some contested national monuments. As to which monuments will be impacted, that has yet to be determined:

Per the AP, Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke–after announcing a thorough review of the Antiquities Act earlier this year — is recommending that none of 27 national wildness or ocean monuments under review be eliminated.  But he said several of the contentious monuments will shrink in size. Here’s more from AP:

Zinke told The Associated Press that unspecified boundary adjustments for some monuments designated over the past four decades will be included in the recommendations he planned to give President Donald Trump on Thursday. None of the sites would revert to new ownership, he said, while public access for uses such as hunting, fishing or grazing would be maintained or restored.

 I wrote on this very subject here at The Resurgent earlier this year:

Why shouldn’t citizens have a say over the designation of national monuments in their backyards? Big government coming in and usurping lands with minimal to no public input–which they ultimately forbid hunting, fishing, and hiking on–should anger true conservationists. How can lands be public if the public is refused a voice ? Zinke recognizes the problem with preservation and has instead ushered in a return to true conservation.

Before the fear mongering starts to set in, let’s see what Secretary Ryan Zinke comes up with. He’s not going to sell off all public lands for oil and gas exploration. He’s not going to abuse his privileges. He’s actually offering to be transparent–a key facet absent in his predecessors. To keep public lands truly public, allowing input from those who’ll be impacted by such national monument designations is important. I welcome the improvement and modernization of the Antiquities Act of 1906 and hope you will too.

Perhaps a good compromise to be approved by all? That could likely be the case. We shall see which monuments will be affected–as Bears Ears National Monument should be on the receiving end of this recommendation after President Obama’s last minute illegal move to designate the area as a national monument late last year.

We will continue to follow updates on the public lands debate here at The Resurgent.

Awesome: Trump’s First Quarter Salary Will Help Restore Antietam Battlefield

In keeping another promise, President Trump’s donated portion of his first year’s quarter salary — $78,333 — will be used to restore Antietam National Battlefield in western Maryland, the Department of Interior announced on Wednesday.

Secretary Ryan Zinke presented the donation during the Wednesday ceremony at the Antietam site. In an official department press release, Zinke offered the following remarks:

“As both the Secretary of the Interior and a military veteran, I’m deeply honored and humbled to deliver the donation to Antietam National Battlefield on behalf of President Trump,” Mr. Zinke said. “The president’s donation will allow generations of Americans to learn about our history and heritage on this sacred site.”

This amount was supplemented by $22, 000 from an anonymous donor–bringing the total to roughly $100,000 being applied to the restoration effort. The funds will go towards restoring a historical building on the battlefield and amending aged fencing there too.

Lest we forget, Antietam National Battlefield played an important role in American history. The namesake Civil War battle was the bloodiest single-day battle in American history–totaling 22,717 soldiers killed, wounded, or missing.

Moreover, the Department of Interior unveiled a $7.2 million plan in additional funds to “help identify, preserve, and protect America’s historic battlefields” as well. Zinke and his department are living up to expectations of being the “Happy Department” indeed. We will continue to report on all the latest conservation efforts from the Department of Interior.

Over 100 Recreational Leaders Praise Interior Secretary Zinke for Promoting True Conservation

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.