Outdoor recreation is taking on a more prominent role at the U.S. Department of the Interior.  Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke today signed two secretarial orders continuing his efforts to prioritize the Department of Interior’s recreation mission and increase access to public lands.

Secretarial Order 3366 directs certain Interior bureaus to create and deliver plans to the Department within 90 days that focus on developing or expanding recreational opportunities on public lands and waterways. This order also directs bureau heads to designate one full-time employee charged to oversee recreational opportunities.Secretarial Order 3365 establishes the position of Senior National Advisor to the Secretary for Recreation to ensure deliberate and active coordination of recreational policy in the U.S. Department of the Interior. The position will be filled by Rick May, who currently serves as a Senior Advisor to the Secretary.  May, a decorated retired Navy SEAL Captain, is a passionate outdoors enthusiast and has quickly earned the respect of national recreation leaders.

“From my first day on the job, I have made it abundantly clear that we are going to refocus on Interior’s long-standing but recently forgotten recreation mission,” said Secretary Zinke according to today’s press release on the secretarial orders. “We are incredibly fortunate, as Americans, to have amazing public lands and waters to carry out our tradition of outdoor recreation but the Department must continue to create opportunities to increase access for these pursuits.”  To read the full press release, click here.

Outdoor Recreation Roundtable (ORR) leaders praised today’s orders.  “We are delighted by the Secretary’s actions to put in place what he has pledged:  a system that will elevate the priority of outdoor recreation on public lands and waters managed by the Department of Interior,” said Thom Dammrich, ORR Chair and President of the National Marine Manufacturers Association.  “The Secretary’s action recognizes the importance of  outdoor recreation for our economy, particularly rural economies, and for the physical and mental health of all Americans.  His actions today will help grow outdoor recreation and ensure that fun in the outdoors remains central to the American lifestyle. The Outdoor Recreation Roundtable pledges our support to the Secretary in his efforts to elevate the Department’s commitment to outdoor recreation.”

“Outdoor recreation is an economic engine that produces 2% of the U.S. GDP and is growing at a faster rate than the U.S. economy as a whole,” said Frank Hugelmeyer, ORR Vice Chair and RV Industry Association President.   “With the right public policies, outdoor recreation will continue to be an American economic engine for years to come.  Which is why the Outdoor Recreation Roundtable and its member associations applaud today’s announcements by Secretary Zinke as a common-sense plan to elevate the importance of outdoor recreation on public lands and waters throughout the Department of the Interior. This is an important step towards improving the visitor experience on public lands and waters across the country.”

“The recreation industry looks forward to cooperating with the Department to offer visitors to parks, refuges and other special places great experiences,” said Derrick Crandall, ORR President.  “The result of better and modernized visitor infrastructure will contribute to a renaissance of rural communities and a renewed commitment by all Americans to the strong conservation ethic our nation has shared with the world.  We thank Secretary Zinke for putting a new emphasis on welcoming enjoyment of our public lands and waters and embracing new skills and new ideas to make visits compatible with protecting our natural and historic resources.”

To learn more about the Outdoor Recreation Roundtable, visit