Outdoor News September 22, 2017 - Explore! Outdoor News September 22, 2017 - Explore!

Outdoor News September 22, 2017

National Public Lands Day

National Public Lands DayNational Public Lands Day is September 30 this year, although associated activities may take place on different days.  To encourage people to join in and visit their public lands, this is a fee-free day for all federal public lands and many state parks. Whether you volunteer, enjoy some boating, hiking, fishing, or camping, or simply learn more about your public lands and the plants and wildlife that live there, take this day to enjoy the great outdoors and celebrate the lands that give us so much.  Through Public Lands Day,  the National Environmental Education Foundation works to connect people to public lands in their community, inspire environmental stewardship, and encourage use of public lands for education, recreation, and general health.  The foundation has created a website where you can do a search to find an event or volunteer opportunity near you.  Check it out: www.neefusa.org/find-an-event

Zinke Wants to Expand Hunting & Fishing

Last Friday, U.S. Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke signed Secretarial Order 3356, which is intended to expand hunting and fishing, enhance conservation stewardship, improve wildlife management, and increase outdoor recreation opportunities for all Americans. The order is an extension of Secretarial Order 3347, issued on Zinke’s first day, March 2, 2017. That order identified a slate of actions for the restoration of the American sportsmen conservation ethic, which was established by President Theodore Roosevelt.

Hunter with her dog - public domain“Hunting and fishing is a cornerstone of the American tradition and hunters and fishers of America are the backbone of land and wildlife conservation,” said Secretary Zinke. “The more people we can get outdoors, the better things will be for our public lands. As someone who grew up hunting and fishing on our public lands – packing bologna sandwiches and heading out at 4AM with my dad – I know how important it is to expand access to public lands for future generations. Some of my best memories are hunting deer or reeling in rainbow trout back home in Montana, and I think every American should be able to have that experience.””

Secretarial Order 3356 directs bureaus within the department to:

  • Within 120 days produce a plan to expand access for hunting and fishing on BLM, USFWS and NPS land. 
  • Amend national monument management plans to ensure the public’s right to hunt, fish and target shoot.
  • Expand educational outreach programs for underrepresented communities such as veterans, minorities, and youth.
  • In a manner that respects the rights and privacy of the owners of non-public lands, identify lands within their purview where access to Department lands, particularly access for hunting, fishing, recreational shooting, and other forms of outdoor recreation, is currently limited (including areas of Department land that may be impractical or effectively impossible to access via public roads or trails under current conditions, but where there may be an opportunity to gain access through an easement, right-of-way, or acquisition), and provide a report detailing such lands to the Deputy Secretary.
  • Within 365 days, cooperate, coordinate, create, make available, and continuously update online a single “one stop” Department site database of available opportunities for hunting, fishing, and recreational shooting on Department lands.
  • Improve wildlife management through collaboration with state, Tribal, territorial, and conservation partners.

“On behalf of the 5 million hunters, recreational shooters and members of the NRA, we commend Secretary Zinke for continuing to follow Teddy Roosevelt’s sportsman legacy by opening more land and water to hunting and target shooting,” said Chris Cox, Executive Director of the National Rifle Association. “In the past, management plans for federal lands have been put in place to ban hunting and shooting. Sportsmen and women can now breathe a sigh of relief that those days are over. This administration values access to public lands for sportsmen and we commend them for it.”

“Restoring wildlife habitat and expanding opportunities for hunting, fishing, and other outdoor recreation will help increase wildlife populations and connect millions of Americans with our nation’s natural treasures,” said Collin O’Mara, President and CEO of the National Wildlife Federation. “Secretary Zinke’s order demonstrates his commitment to collaborate closely with conservation organizations and state agencies to achieve these critical conservation outcomes. We look forward to working with the Secretary, the Department, and our conservation partners to recover America’s wildlife and connect every American with nature.”

Drew McConville, senior managing director for government relations at The Wilderness Society said, “This issue is a red herring and completely unnecessary since national monuments are typically open to hunting and fishing already.  If the Secretary truly wants to promote increased access and conservation for wildlife habitat, he should fully support legislation such as the Land and Water Conservation Fund, which will benefit wildlife and expand opportunities to enjoy these lands. We also call on Secretary Zinke to retain or expand conservation designations like national monuments instead of calling for their demise.”


Kindness Rocks Project

Under the premise that one message at just the right time can change your entire day, outlook and life, The Kindness Rocks Project was born and has spread across the U.S.   The idea is to write a thoughtful message or quote or draw a picture on a rock and leave it somewhere outdoors.  Hopefully, a person that needs that particular message or picture will find that rock at an opportune time.  In some places proponents of the effort have created ‘gardens’ with many such rocks where people are encouraged to take one that means something to them and ultimately replace it with a rock of their own creation.

Kindness RockThe Southwest Virginia Cultural Heritage Foundation has endorsed the idea and decided that Southwest Virginia should join the movement.  They are encouraging people to share their rock-sharing experiences through the Foundation’s Facebook and Twitter pages.

While the idea is laudable and gets people outdoors either looking for rocks or placing them,  it is important to be considerate of where you place them. The Foundation offers these rules:

  • No hiding in protected lands! (National Parks, State Parks, ect.) 
  • No hiding in private land!
  • No taping or attching items to the rocks – this creates litter!
  • No graffitii – painting should Not take place on natural rock faces! 

Recovering from Irma

Hurricanes often strike areas where outdoor recreation is an important element of the local economy.  To keep that economic engine running,  tourists need to return as soon as possible after a hurricane. Toward that end, Punta Gorda/Englewood Beach, Florida, issued the following press release yesterday:

Visitors return to soak up the sun at Englewood Beach days after Hurricane Irma. Photo Credit: Jerry Jones / PureFlorida.com.“Punta Gorda/Englewood Beach, the beautiful but lesser known destination of Florida’s Southwest Gulf Coast between Sarasota and Fort Myers, has announced the majority of mainland area accommodations and attractions have reopened following the effects of Hurricane Irma.

“The Punta Gorda/Englewood Beach Visitor & Convention Bureau is grateful to have experienced minimal business interruption and damage, and while more impactful for others in the state, has reported a generally swift return to business and recovery.

“Allegiant Airlines flights resumed normal operations at the Punta Gorda Airport September 13. Fishermen’s Village Mall and Marina reopened September 14, along with the Port Charlotte Town Center and most retail businesses earlier last week. A majority of Punta Gorda/Englewood Beach area restaurants have reopened as well, with residents and guests already returning.

“Minimal damage to the barrier islands, including Manasota Key, Little Gasparilla, Knight Island (Palm Island Resort) and Don Pedro Island, has been reported and rapid restoration is anticipated. The islands temporarily lacked electricity, but earlier this week all had power restored.

“While touched by Hurricane Irma, the pristine, natural beauty of the Punta Gorda/Englewood Beach destination has been spared. The beautiful beaches remain intact and welcome visitors with a lifetime of vacation memories to be made.

“‘We are very fortunate to be welcoming visitors shortly after the storm has passed,’ said Lorah Steiner, Director of Tourism for the Charlotte County VCB.  ‘Punta Gorda and Englewood Beach continue to welcome visitors with excellent outdoor recreation, relaxation, beautiful beaches and breathtaking sunsets along Southwest Florida’s Gulf Coast.'”

Photo caption: Visitors return to soak up the sun at Englewood Beach, days after Hurricane Irma. Photo Credit: Jerry Jones / PureFlorida.com.


National Forest Week in Canada

According to the Association of BC Forest Professionals, Canada’s National Forest Week, held September 24-30 this year, is a time for British Columbians to reflect on and learn more about the importance of forests to their history, communities, and economy.

“Outdoor recreation plays a large role in the lifestyles of many British Columbians and forests are a critical part of that. But with an increasingly urban population, many people may not realize that forests are much more than a collection of scenic trees where we hike, bike, and take pictures,” said Bill Bourgeois, PhD, RPF(Ret) and executive director of the National Forest Week BC Coalition.

BC Forest“National Forest Week provides BC families with opportunities to learn more about our forests. Whether it’s a walk in the woods, a talk in the classroom, or a showcase of the critters that live in the forest, adults and children alike can see how registered forest professionals are managing BC’s forests for a wide range of uses including recreation, wildlife habitat, timber harvesting, and other values of importance to British Columbians.”

National Forest Week events happen in communities across BC. A partial listing of events is available on the Canadian Forestry Association website. Teachers across BC are also inviting forest professionals to speak to their students.

The annual National Forest Week children’s art contest, sponsored by the Association of BC Forest Professionals and the Truck Loggers Association is also underway. Children aged 4 to 12 can win prizes by showing what the forest means to them though their art work. Contest details and entry forms are available on the BC National Forest Week website.

National Forest Week is coordinated nationally by the Canadian Institute of Forestry and in BC by the National Forest Week BC Coalition, a group of volunteers drawn from across the forest sector. More information as well as additional resources including event ideas, giveaways, and speakers for school class rooms, are available free of charge on the BC National Forest Week website.

Zinke’s Monument Review

Last Sunday, the The Washington Post revealed that it had obtained An undated “Draft Deliberative – Not for Distribution” copy of Secretary Zinke’s summary of his findings on National Monuments.  Zinke was charged in an Executive Order of the President to review 22 land-based monuments and five marine monuments to see if they were instituted in compliance with the Antiquities Act and “appropriately balance the protection of landmarks, structures, and objects against the appropriate use of Federal lands and the effects on surrounding lands and communities.”
ZinkeZinke gathered the basic information about each of the areas as well as the basis for the boundaries, land uses within the monuments, public access concerns, authorized traditional uses, and appropriate environmental and cultural protections.  He also participated in a number of meetings and collected public comment using a website to gauge the public response to the monuments.

The summary says that proponents tended to promote monument designation as a means to prevent sale or transfer of public lands.  As Zinke points out,  regardless of the designation, they are public lands and could be sold or transferred given appropriate legal authorization.  Proponents also stressed the positive economic impact of these designations.  Zinke countered that saying, “Increased visitation also places an additional burden and responsibility on the Federal Government to provide additional resources and manpower to maintain these lands to better support increased visitation and recreational activities.”  He did not note that a growing backlog of deferred maintenance and declining agency budgets would suggest that the government may not actually respond to that responsibility.  However he did recommend that Congress properly fund the needs of the Monuments.  He added that comments received were “overwhelmingly in favor of maintaining existing monuments.”

Opponents apparently tended toward local residents who wanted to allow historic uses of the areas.  “Those most concerned were often local residents associated with industries such as grazing, timber production, mining, hunting and fishing, and motorized recreation.”

Ultimately Zinke recommended modifying 10 monuments including modifying the size of four land-based and perhaps two marine monuments:

  • Bears Ears: revise the boundary to continue to protect objects and ensure the size is conducive to effective protection of the objects. 
  • Cascade-Siskiyou: revise the boundary to reduce impacts on private lands and to remove the O&C lands to permit timber harvest on them.
  • Gold Butte: revise the boundary to protect historic water rights.
  • Grand Staircase-Escalante: revise the boundary – no reason given.
  • Pacific Remote Island: perhaps revise the boundary to allow commercial fishing
  • Rose Atoll: perhaps modify the boundary to allow commercial fishing

Besides these changes,  Zinke is also proposing to designate the Camp Nelson 1863 Union Army Supply Depot in Kentucky as a National Monument and to see if several civil rights sites in Mississippi should be designated.  He also suggests that the Bridger-Two Medicine area in Montana, his home state, be considered for designation.

As a summary,  this document is naturally lacking in details about exactly how boundaries should be modified.  Further,  since this document is deliberative, it could be massively changed before officially being made public.

Special Savings for Our Readers

Video of the Week

This week’s video offers a look at the Cascade Siskiyou National Monument.  The video was created in 2010 before the January 2017 expansion.  If you’d like to see Zinke’s thoughts while he visited the monument you can check out the video “Secretary Zinke Visits Oregon.”

This newsletter is compiled by Jerry Haugen and brought to you by
Global Creations EXPLORE!  The eMagazine for Adventure and Exploration

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