The Department of the Interior’s new leader, Ryan Zinke (R-Mont.), former U.S. Representative, was sworn in by Vice President Mike Pence on Wednesday (March 1), becoming the nation’s 52nd Secretary of the Interior. The very next day, Zinke held his first meeting with external partners, a collection of sportsmen and parks and recreation advocates, where several members of the Outdoor Recreation Industry Roundtable played key roles.
Zinke reaffirmed his strong commitment to providing access to the country’s public lands and waters for all Americans, taking immediate and decisive action by signing two Secretarial Orders and promising swift action on many top issues.
Zinke also stressed the need for cooperation between the public and private sectors to ensure that people continue to enjoy world-class opportunities for healthy, active outdoor fun on public lands and waters.
“Secretary Zinke proved on day one his commitment to greater recreation access on our public lands with his actions and comments,” said Derrick Crandall, president of the American Recreation Coalition. “This nation has led the world on parks and conservation matters for well over 100 years. And we are excited that the nation’s new Secretary of the Interior, Ryan Zinke, has the passion, the vision and the energy to continue this leadership from this important post. After talking with him, you can’t mistake his pride in our outdoors legacy and his passion for keeping future Americans active in the outdoors. He will unite and grow the advocacy for America’s Great Outdoors.”
ORIR will play an active role in generating and submitting new ideas to improve visitor services and recreation infrastructure that can be implemented quickly.
National Marine Manufacturers Association President Thom Dammrich, who attended the meeting, said, “Americans love their great outdoors and the Department of Interior is responsible for much of the public lands and waters where Americans recreate.
“The new Secretary of Interior, Ryan Zinke, understands the importance of the outdoor recreation economy and the value of welcoming Americans to our public lands to enjoy a variety of recreation activities, while conserving them for future generations as well. The NMMA looks forward to working with Secretary Zinke to make our public lands inviting places for all Americans and improving fishing and boating opportunities.”
Before the meeting with the new Cabinet member, the conservation and recreation leaders spent time with Acting Deputy Secretary Jim Cason and lead for the Interior “Beachhead Team,” Doug Domenech. Discussions included the status of other key Interior appointments and the budget process, which will include defining Trump Administration priorities.