This week U.S. Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke signed an order to support and expand hunting and fishing.
Secretarial Order 3356 hopes to improve wildlife conservation, increase access to public lands for hunting and fishing, and recruit new “sportsmen conservationists,” especially young people, veterans, and minorities, groups that historically have low participation in outdoor recreation.National Hunting & Fishing Day 2016 Photo: Candy Thomson/Maryland DNR
The order comes in response to a survey by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, that found there are 2.2 million fewer hunters in America now than there were in 2011.
“Hunters and fishers of America are the backbone of land and wildlife conservation,” said Secretary Zinke. “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.”
Public areas that will get expanded access for hunting and fishing include Bureau of Land Manangement, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and National Park Service land. Zinke also wants to “ensure the public’s right to hunt, fish and target shoot” at 27 national monuments. And the order directs federal bureaus to identify public lands that aren’t easily accessible via public roads or trails, but could be accessible with an easement, right-of-way, or acquisition.
“Restoring wildlife habitat and expanding opportunities for hunting, fishing, and other outdoor recreation will help increase wildlife populations and connect millions of Americans with our nation’s natural treasures,” said Collin O’Mara, President and CEO of the National Wildlife Federation. “Secretary Zinke’s order demonstrates his commitment to collaborate closely with conservation organizations and state agencies to achieve these critical conservation outcomes.