Secretary Zinke Prioritizes Big Game Corridors

This month at the Western Conservation and Hunting Expo in Salt Lake City, Utah U.S. Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke signed Secretarial Order 3362, which aims to improve habitat quality and western big game winter range and migration corridors for antelope, elk, and mule deer. The order seeks to foster improved collaboration with states and private landowners and facilitates all parties using the best available science to inform development of guidelines that helps ensure that robust big game populations continue to exist.  Priority states currently include Arizona, California, Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Utah, Washington, and Wyoming.

“We all know that animals go where animals want to go, and more often than not that’s dependent upon natural features like watersheds, rather than whether land is owned by the BLM, state, or private landowners. We need to manage appropriately. My goal is healthy herds for American hunters and wildlife watchers, and this order will help establish better migration corridors for some of North America’s most iconic big game species like elk, mule deer and antelope,” said Secretary Zinke.  According to the Department of Interior the Secretarial Order initiative will help with many aspects of solving the challenges encountered along the pathways of these migratory routes.

“We greatly appreciate Secretary Zinke’s commitment to improving the habitat quality of big game migratory corridors and winter range on lands managed by the department’s bureaus,” said Mule Deer Foundation President and CEO, Miles Moretti. “Big game populations have faced increasing challenges during their seasonal migrations and in the crucial winter period. Federal public lands play a critical role in the annual life cycle of mule deer and black-tailed deer and we pledge our wholehearted support and engagement to implement Secretarial Order 3362.”

Here in Washington, creating safer passage for motorists and mule deer on Highway 97 in the Okanogan Valley is a priority and a great way to show how our state can work with diverse partners to engage in implementation of this initiative.

Click here to view the Department of Interior’s press release on this Executive Order.

Discussion Area - Leave a Comment