U.S. Secretary of the Interior, Ryan Zinke, an avid hunter and angler, signed Secretarial Order 3356 on Friday morning to support and expand hunting and fishing opportunities on public lands including areas currently under the jurisdiction of the Bureau of Land Management, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and the National Park Service.
Zinke says the goal is to improve wildlife management and conservation, increase access to public lands for hunting, shooting and fishing, and put a new emphasis on recruiting and retaining new sportsmen conservationists with more educational outreach programs.
A recent survey by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service found there are 2.2 million fewer hunters in America than there were in 2011.
Secretarial Order 3356 directs bureaus within the Interior Department to:
—produce a plan to expand access to hunting and fishing on BLM, USFWS and NPS land within 120 days
—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.
Interior Secretary Zinke faced criticism from conservation and environmental groups last month after making recommendations to President Trump on 27 national monuments including the Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument, which he wants to reduce in size.