True Conservation at Work: Interior Plans Expansion of Hunting and Fishing Opportunities on Public, Private Lands

Keeping in line with his promise to promote true conservation at Department of Interior, Secretary Ryan Zinke announced today that his department plans to continue expanding fishing and hunting opportunities on public lands. Citing the depreciation of 2.2 million hunters in the new USFWS study, Zinke believes this move — along with partnerships with private land owners — will help address the decline in hunting numbers, instead, by strengthening hunting participation in the U.S.

This move — known as Secretarial Order 3356— aims to “increase outdoor recreation opportunities for all Americans, including opportunities to hunt and fish” and “improve the management of game species and their habitats for this generation and beyond.”

“Hunting and fishing is a cornerstone of the American tradition and hunters and fishers of America are the backbone of land and wildlife conservation,” said Secretary Zinke in the official DOI press release. “The more people we can get outdoors, the better things will be for our public lands. 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.

“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.”

Here’s what Secretarial Order 3356 will entail once it goes into effect:

  • Within 120 days produce a plan to expand access for hunting and fishing on BLM, USFWS and NPS land.
  • Amend national monument management plans to ensure the public’s right to hunt, fish and target shoot.
  • Expand educational outreach programs for underrepresented communities such as veterans, minorities, and youth.
  • In a manner that respects the rights and privacy of the owners of non-public lands, identify lands within their purview where access to Department lands, particularly access for hunting, fishing, recreational shooting, and other forms of outdoor recreation, is currently limited (including areas of Department land that may be impractical or effectively impossible to access via public roads or trails under current conditions, but where there may be an opportunity to gain access through an easement, right-of-way, or acquisition), and provide a report detailing such lands to the Deputy Secretary.
  • Within 365 days, cooperate, coordinate, create, make available, and continuously update online a single “one stop” Department site database of available opportunities for hunting, fishing, and recreational shooting on Department lands.
  • Improve wildlife management through collaboration with state, Tribal,​ territorial, and conservation partners.

Although he was confirmed in March, Zinke has done an extensive amount of work to bring accountability to his department. From decriminalizing lead usage for hunting and fishing on U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) designated lands to improving outdoor access on public lands, the former Montana congressman is proving to be a good steward of the environment by living the sportsman’s creed. He recently concluded his review of national monuments and offered some reasonable recommendations for the Antiquities Act of 1906.

I hope DOI and similar partners also take a look at R3 programs, which seek to recruit, retain, and reactivate participation in fishing, hunting, and the shooting sports.

It’s undeniable that fishing and hunting promote true conservation. Both industries pump back billions into the economy, help kids become proactive members of society, and make this country great. Those who seek to deprive Americans of opportunities to hunt and fish are doing a disservice to this country and to true conservation efforts.

We’ll continue to log Zinke’s efforts here at The Resurgent. Stay tuned.

About the author

Gabriella Hoffman

Gabriella Hoffman is a media strategist based in the Washington, D.C. Metro Area. She has written for The Resurgent since March 2016 and serves as their D.C. Correspondent.

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