Congressman Ryan Zinke (R-MT) was confirmed this morning as President Trump’s Interior Secretary. The confirmation makes the two-term House member and former Navy SEAL the 52nd secretary of the Department of the Interior, responsible for over 400 million acres of public land.
Zinke stated Wednesday afternoon, “I’ve been extremely fortunate to serve my country in a variety of ways, as a Navy SEAL and as a Congressman. Now, as the Secretary of the Interior, my job is to preserve, protect and enhance our Nation’s treasures. The words inscribed at the entrance to Yellowstone National Park in the Roosevelt arch will guide me as I once again serve my country — “For the Benefit and Enjoyment of the People”.”
Montana Senator Jon Tester stated Wednesday, “As a Montanan, I know how important the Department of Interior is to supporting our western way of life, protecting our public lands, and living up to our trust responsibilities in Indian Country. I believe Congressman Zinke will do right by Montana and the country in this role. Montana will be watching, and I know he’ll make us proud.”
Congressman Zinke also mentioned recreation numerous times during his testimony, “[We] need to motivate and incentivize outdoor recreation activities to show millennials the importance of great outdoors… need new ways to get younger millennials to parks and outdoors to teach them the value of our public lands.” He finished with, “I’m specifically concerned with public access. I’m a hunter and fisherman.”
Senator Steve Daines (R-MT) also weighed in Wednesday, noting, “I’m thrilled that we have Ryan Zinke, a Westerner, as Secretary of the Interior who understands Montana values. I have no doubt that Ryan Zinke will aggressively work to improve public access through better management of federal lands and grow jobs in western communities that depend on these important resources.”
During his confirmation hearings in the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources, Congressman Zinke once again made it clear he values and understands the importance of keeping public lands in public hands, noting, “I want to be clear on this point: I am absolutely against transfer or sale of public lands. [I] can’t be any more clear.”
Congressman Zinke also expressed his commitment to reauthorize the Land and Water Conservation Fund and the need to clear the estimated $12 billion backlog in repair and maintenance at our national parks.
In December, AFFTA applauded Zinke’s nomination, with AFFTA President Ben Bulis noting, “As a Montanan, Congressman Zinke has been committed to ensuring public lands stay in the publics hands. He is committed to protecting fish and wildlife habitat, and has pushed for full and permanent authorization of the Land and Water Conservation Fund, our nation’s most successful conservation program. We have an excellent relationship with Congressman Zinke and I’m looking forward to working with him as Secretary of the Interior.”
AFFTA advocates for and promotes the sustained growth of the fly-fishing industry. By igniting consumer demand for products and services, providing businesses the tools to be successful, and advocating for access, protection and restoration of fishing waters, we will continue to enhance the passion and profitability of the sport of fly fishing.