Author: Teresa Johnson
Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke showed up to work on a horse last week in Washington, D.C., soon after being confirmed as the department’s new boss.
Riding horseback was a bold move from the self-professed “son of a plumber who grew up in a little timber and rail town 22 minutes down the road from Glacier National Park.” Zinke marked his first day on the job by making a strong commitment to public lands and conservation, issues near and dear to the hearts of Archery Trade Association members.
Zinke kicked off his term by issuing two secretarial orders, one of which increases opportunities for outdoor recreation – specifically hunting and fishing – and public lands.
According to the Department of the Interior, Secretarial Order 3346 “advances conservation stewardship, improves game and habitat management, and increases outdoor recreation opportunities by directing bureaus and agencies to immediately identify areas where recreation and fishing can be expanded. The order also requests input from the Wildlife and Hunting Heritage Conservation Council and Sport Fishing and Boating Partnership Council to provide recommendations on enhancing and expanding access on public lands, and improving habitat for fish and wildlife.”
For ATA members, Secretarial Order 3346 couldn’t come at a better time. Access to public lands, and expanded hunting and fishing opportunities are keys to the long-term survival and sustainability of the bowhunting and archery industries. By protecting opportunities for hunting and shooting on public lands, Zinke strongly aligns himself with conservationists, including bowhunters and archers. His move demonstrates his commitment to improving habitat for wildlife, and increasing opportunities for archery and bowhunting recreation on federal lands.
Why is public-lands access a heartfelt issue for Zinke? He explained it in a recent email: “I’m an unapologetic admirer and disciple of Teddy Roosevelt. I believe in the traditional mixed use ‘conservation ethics’ doctrine laid out by Pinchot, but realize there are special places where man is more an observer than a participant, as outlined by Muir. I cherish our public lands. I have absolutely and unequivocally opposed any attempts to sell, transfer or privatize our public lands, and serving as their top steward is not a job I take lightly. I approach this job in the same way that Boy Scouts taught me so long ago: Leave the campsite in better condition than I found it.”
Public-lands access is a heartfelt issue for Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke. “I cherish our public lands,” he said in a recent email. “I have absolutely and unequivocally opposed any attempts to sell, transfer or privatize our public lands, and serving as their top steward is not a job I take lightly.”
Jay McAninch, ATA’s president/CEO, agrees that access to federal lands is important to ATA members, who make their living by selling archery and bowhunting equipment. It’s why the ATA advocates on Capitol Hill and at the White House for its members, and recently joined a coalition of other recreation-focused trade associations. The Outdoor Recreation Industry Roundtable is protecting access to public lands and expanding recreational opportunities for millions of Americans. This is vital work, given that outdoor recreation generates $646 billion annually for the U.S. economy.
“Outdoor recreation represents real folks engaged in serious business in American retailing and manufacturing,” McAninch said. “The strength of the outdoor recreation economy – including bowhunting and archery – is the relaxation and rejuvenation opportunities it provides. However, most Americans will never use federal lands. Many Americans are disenfranchised in that regard. It’s a missed opportunity we must consider when working for the long-term growth and sustainability of archery and bowhunting.”
Zinke, meanwhile, surrounded himself with members of hunting, fishing and recreational sporting groups – including McAninch – when signing his orders last week.
“I was proud to advocate for Secretary Zinke’s confirmation, and pleased that he agreed to meet with me and others from the shooting, hunting and fishing community on his first day in office,” McAninch said. “The next step is a meeting with Zinke and our ORIR members to fast-track public/private partnerships that accelerate opportunities for archers and bowhunters.”
The ATA’s commitment to legislative efforts in the nation’s capital ensure archery and bowhunting play a critical role in shaping the future of recreational access on federal lands. In turn, that work ensures future opportunities for shooting bows and arrows.