ORIR Members Meet With Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke

ORIR Members Meet With Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke

The Department of the Interior has a new leader. Former U.S. Representative Ryan Zinke (R-MT) was sworn in by Vice President Mike Pence on March 1, becoming the nation’s 52nd Secretary of the Interior.

The very next day – his first day in office – Secretary Zinke arrived on horseback and held his first meeting with external partners – a collection of sportsmen and parks and recreation advocates. Several members of the Outdoor Recreation Industry Roundtable (ORIR) played key roles in that meeting.

Secretary 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.”

The initial session was short, but discussion on these issues will continue to be a key part of the Secretary’s work going forward. 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 (NMMA) 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.”

“Our country is unique in that all its citizens have access to our public lands and waters,” said Mike Nussman, President and CEO of the American Sportfishing Association. “The Department of the Interior holds a unique position as the lead steward for many of these special places. We are pleased to have Secretary Zinke, an avid outdoorsman, in charge of these important resources!”

Prior to 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. The message is clear that Interior is now in motion and recreation is a priority.

Many of the ORIR members will return to Interior later this evening as the Secretary hosts a much larger group representing the diverse interests that work with the Department. Also attending the reception will be the new Interior leads on external affairs, communications and Congressional liaison.