U.S. Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke has signed an order that will support and expand hunting and fishing opportunities on federal land, saying it will help wildlife management and conservation.
The order, which was praised by the National Marine Manufacturers Association, comes as the number of hunters is rapidly declining. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced a survey that found there are 2.2 million fewer hunters in America than in 2011.
“Hunting and fishing is a cornerstone of the American tradition, and hunters and fishers of America are the backbone of land and wildlife conservation,” said Zinke in a statement.
“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 4 a.m. with my dad — I know how important it is to expand access to public lands for future generations,” Zinke said. “Some of my best memories are hunting deer or reeling in rainbow trout back home in Montana, and I think every American should be able to have that experience.”
U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, also applauded the move, saying sportsmen’s access to federal lands has been restricted for too long.
“This extension to Secretarial Order 3356 will go a long way to reversing that trend and help grow the next generation of hunters, fishermen, and recreational shooters,” Murkowski said in a statement.
“I appreciate this new order and am committed to working with Secretary Zinke and my colleagues to do everything we can to expand and enhance access to our federal lands for all Alaskans, and all Americans, so that we can continue our rich sportsmen’s heritage.”