Monday, March 06, 2017

Zinke Expands Hunters’ Access to Public Lands

On his first day in office Thursday, Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke signed two orders on issues the native Montanan holds dear: hunting, fishing and access to public lands. Zinke’s first two orders expand access to public lands and increase hunting, fishing and recreation opportunities nationwide, according to a statement from the Department of Interior. “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,” Zinke said in a statement. “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.” Secretarial Order 3346 advances conservation stewardship, improves game and habitat management, and increases outdoor recreation opportunities by directing bureaus and agencies to immediately identify areas where recreation and fishing can be expanded. The order also requests input from 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. Secretarial Order 3347 overturns the ban on lead ammunition and fishing tackle used on Fish and Wildlife Service lands and waters...more

Do you think we'll ever see the headline Zinke Expands Ranchers Access to Public Lands? How many vacant allotments are there out there, along with other lands where livestock grazing has been administratively prohibited?

.And I don't care if Zinke rides, walks, crawls or flies to work, one of the first items he should withdraw is BLM's current policy and planning guidance on lands with wilderness characteristics (see here, here and here), which has the potential to restrict access to thousands of acres. Many will recall former Secretary Salazar withdrew his controversial order on Wildlands. The order was withdrawn, but BLM continued on and implemented the policy, naming the areas lands with wilderness characteristics instead of wildlands. This Obama-era, anti-multiple use and otherwise exclusionary policy should be revoked immediately.

The Secretarial Oder on access is embedded below:

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