Conservation

Rick May, the Nation’s ‘Recreation Czar,’ Visits ATA Trade Show

Rick May oversees recreational activities on public lands, with the aim of creating access and opportunities. See how those duties mesh well with the bowhunting and archery industry.
Photo Credit: Shane Indrebo

Author: Jackie Holbrook

Archery and bowhunting attract people from all backgrounds and professions, and each January many of these enthusiasts meet at the ATA Trade Show. Among the thousands of ATA retailers, manufacturers, Olympians, hunting professionals and government officials working this year’s Show in Indianapolis was Rick May, senior adviser to Ryan Zinke, secretary of the U.S. Department of the Interior.

Given the passion that ATA Trade Show attendees share for growing the industry and protecting their sports’ future, May fit right in. His official job description says he “oversees recreational activities on public lands, with the aim of creating access and opportunities.” Those duties mesh well with the bowhunting and archery industry, which relies on support from local, state and federal governments.

Zinke dubbed May with a simpler, more direct title: “Recreation Czar.” Dan Forster, ATA’s vice president and chief conservation officer, said May’s presence at the ATA Trade Show was “a clear and undeniable recognition that the archery industry is a priority in this country’s outdoor recreation.” After all, the Interior Department oversees millions of acres of public land for bowhunting access.

Rick May walked the Show floor at Indy, speaking with business owners and manufacturers. He also shook hands with industry celebs like Cameron Hanes and Jim Shockey.Photo Credit: Shane Indrebo.

May is a passionate outdoorsman and former longbow champion. He was also a captain in the U.S. Navy, serving in the SEALs. May walked the Show floor at Indy, speaking with business owners and manufacturers. He also shook hands with industry celebs like Cameron Hanes and Jim Shockey. The former longbow champ even found time to test several bows debuting at the Show. Incidentally, the word from the Show floor is that May’s a very good shot!

Forster said May was engaged and interested in the industry’s needs and ATA members’ concerns, adding that the “Recreation Czar” wants to work with the industry to meet recreational demands and support a growing industry.

May also addressed about 50 industry leaders to voice his support of hunting and archery. Forster said several ATA members spoke with May about hunting’s prominent role in the Interior Department, and in Secretary Zinke’s life.

Zinke dubbed May with a simpler, more direct title: “Recreation Czar.” Dan Forster, ATA’s vice president and chief conservation officer, said May’s presence at the ATA Trade Show was “a clear and undeniable recognition that the archery industry is a priority in this country’s outdoor recreation.” Photo Credit: Shannon Rikard.

May shared several pro-hunting accomplishments made in the past year by the Trump administration, including:

  • Proclaiming October as Hunting and Fishing Month;
  • Opening or expanding hunting and fishing access on 10 national wildlife refuges and;
  • Distributed $1.1 billion to state wildlife agencies through Pittman-Robertson grants.

“May emphasized hunting’s important role in our nation’s heritage and economy,” Forster said. “Our pursuits enjoy the highest levels of support in federal and state governments. It was reassuring to hear how those priorities align with one of ATA’s core missions: securing a strong future for bowhunting.”

Dan Forster said it’s vital to educate government officials about the industry and issues affecting it. May’s visit to the ATA Trade Show went a long way toward achieving that goal. Photo Credit: Shane Indrebo.

Forster said May’s visit is already yielding results for bowhunting’s future. Soon after the Show, May asked Forster to apply for a seat on the newly created Hunting and Shooting Sports Conservation Council, which will advise Zinke and the secretary of the Agriculture Department – which oversees the U.S. Forest Service – on wildlife and habitat conservation issues.

An Interior Department press release said the Council will examine ways to benefit wildlife resources. It will also encourage partnerships among the public, sporting conservation organizations and state, tribal, territorial and federal governments. The department expects those efforts to benefit recreational hunting and shooting sports.

As part of the ATA’s mission to increase industry profits, Forster said it’s vital to educate government officials about the industry and issues affecting it. May’s visit to the ATA Trade Show went a long way toward achieving that goal.

Learn more about the ATA’s government advocacy efforts here.

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