The Montana Wildlife Federation commends Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke’s announcement of a new plan to support hunting and fishing on public lands.
Today’s order specifically recognizes the importance of national monuments for hunters and anglers, and calls for more community planning at the local level. National monuments like the Missouri Breaks protect public land access and wildlife habitat, providing some of the best places to hunt and fish in the West. The approach announced today is much more constructive than the top-down “review” of national monuments that the Interior Department has been conducting for the last several months. We hope the department will follow through on the emphasis on smart local planning instead of pursuing top-down directives to redraw national monument boundaries and turn public lands over to oil drilling and mining.
We also shouldn’t forget that really protecting hunting and fishing on public land depends on adequate funding and staffing for land management agencies. Just this week, the House of Representatives passed an Interior Appropriations bill that partially restores the deep funding cuts proposed by the Trump Administration for every federal land management agency. If our leaders truly want to protect hunting, angling, and public access to public lands, they need to provide adequate funding and staffing for the men and women who are working on the front lines.