Zinke Signs Secretarial Order to Expand Land Access and Enhance Conservation

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On Fri., Sept. 15, Secretary of the Interior (SOI) Ryan Zinke signed Secretarial Order 3356, continuing the Department of Interior’s (DOI) efforts to support sportsmen and women and enhance conservation stewardship. The order seeks to improve wildlife management and conservation, increase access to public lands for hunting, shooting and fishing and puts a greater emphasis on promoting outdoor activities among youth, veterans and minority communities.

"Hunting and fishing is the 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 in an official DOI press release. “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."

As noted in the DOI press release, SO 3356 directs bureaus within the department to:

1. Within 120 days produce a plan to expand access for hunting and fishing on BLM, USFWS and NPS land.

2. Amend national monument management plans to ensure the public's right to hunt, fish and target shoot.

3. Expand educational outreach programs for underrepresented communities such as veterans, minorities and youth.

4. 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.

5. 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.

"On behalf of the 5 million hunters, recreational shooters and members of the NRA, we commend Secretary Zinke for continuing to follow Teddy Roosevelt’s sportsman legacy by opening more land and water to hunting and target shooting,” said NRA-ILA Executive Director Chris Cox. “In the past, management plans for federal lands have been put in place to ban hunting and shooting. Sportsmen and women can now breathe a sigh of relief that those days are over. This administration values access to public lands for sportsmen and we commend them for it."

To read the full DOI press release, click here.

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