Nominee for Interior Secretary lauded by outdoors groups

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The Outdoor Recreational Industry Roundtable and the National Marine Manufacturers Association are supporting Interior Secretary nominee Ryan Zinke, who said Tuesday that he is “an unapologetic admirer of Teddy Roosevelt.”

Zinke testified before the U.S. Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources, which is considering his nomination to be the country’s 52nd Secretary of the Interior.

Zinke, a Republican congressman from Montana, said Roosevelt “had it right when he placed under federal protection millions of acres of federal lands and set aside much of it as national forests. Today, much of those lands provide Americans the opportunity to hike, fish, camp, recreate and enjoy the great outdoors.”

“The Outdoor Recreation Industry Roundtable supports Secretary-designate Zinke and looks forward to working with him and his team at the Department of the Interior to advance the outdoor recreation sector, grow jobs in the U.S. and ensure that all Americans have access to healthy, active outdoor fun on their public lands and waters,” American Recreation Coalition president Derrick Crandall said in a statement.

Zinke was a co-sponsor of the recently enacted Outdoor Recreation Jobs and Economic Impact (REC) Act of 2016, which requires measurement of the outdoor recreation economy and its role in the overall U.S. economy.

The RV Industry Association “unwaveringly” supports Zinke’s nomination, RVIA president Frank Hugelmeyer said.

“Secretary-nominee Zinke understands the significance of the outdoor recreation economy and the need to remove barriers to enable the dynamic and fast-growing outdoor recreation industry to reach its full potential,” Hugelmeyer said.

“Because the Department of Interior oversees water management and its policies directly impact Americans’ access to federally managed waterways and fisheries for recreation, the role of Secretary of the Interior is of critical importance to the U.S. recreational boating industry and its 35,000 marine businesses and 88 million boaters,” NMMA president Thom Dammrich said.

The Department of the Interior manages 25 percent of the country’s surface area.

“It is also America’s treasure, our national parks,” said ranking committee member Sen. Maria Cantwell, D-Wash. “They drive an outdoor economy that provides over 6.1 million jobs and $646 billion in annual revenue.  So never underestimate the value of public lands when it comes to recreation.”

Other topics covered at the hearing include:

  • Zinke’s commitment to public lands remaining in public hands
  • The need for greater investment in national parks
  • Support for the Land and Water Conservation Fund
  • Addressing issues of sexual harassment in the National Park Service
  • Attracting the next generation of public land and water users.

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