Media advisory for Nov 16: Diverse outdoor groups ask Secretary Zinke to "walk the talk" on public lands

Nov 13, 2017

National land in the United States that is owned by all Americans. 

Hunting, fishing, motorized and other outdoor leaders demand formal commitment from Secretary Zinke that America’s public lands will not be sold off.

Telephone Press Conference Thursday, November 16, 2017 - 1 pm ET, 11 am MT, 10 am PT

WHAT: Secretary Zinke stated he is “absolutely against transfer or sale of public lands” during his confirmation hearing. Yet his actions—including jeopardizing the protected status of national monuments, expediting extractive industry leases near parks and monuments, and appointing anti-public land extremists to Interior cabinet positions—indicate that Secretary Zinke is prioritizing access to public lands for industry and private interests rather than for the American people.

On November 16, a network of conservation, hunting, fishing, motorized, business and other outdoor interests will submit a legal petition to the Department of the Interior to force Secretary Zinke to demonstrate his commitment by issuing an agency-wide rule that would keep public lands public. The guests below are an initial cross-section of the business, recreation and advocacy organizations that are spearheading the petition to the Department of the Interior under the legal auspices of the Administrative Procedures Act (APA). Experts from The Wilderness Society will be on the line to answer policy-related questions about the APA and the petition process.  

“This rule is overdue. Every day that Secretary Zinke fails to put his promise to the American people in writing is another day of uncertainty for the future of our shared public lands.” --Brad Brooks, Director of Public Lands Campaign, The Wilderness Society


  • Martin Hackworth – A climber, skier, mountain biker, and motorcycle trail rider, Martin is the executive director of Ribbon Coalition. His goal is to ensure that everyone who loves the outdoors has reasonable access to the lands they enjoy. 
  • Phil Powers – A lifelong climber who has led dozens of expeditions around the world, Phil serves as CEO of the American Alpine Club. He continues the Club’s 115-year history of conservation by advocating on behalf of Club members and the climbing community to protect public lands and vertical environments.
  • Gia Randono – Gia is a fourth generation Montanan who relies on national public lands for her livelihood and lifestyle. She is the co-owner of Lewis & Clark Trail Adventures. The company employs 30 guides and staff members and shares wild and scenic rivers of Montana and Idaho with some 2,500 guests each year.
  • Bill Geer – A retired wildlife biologist who spent his career working in conservation, Bill is the former director of the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources.  He has held numerous government and nonprofit sector wildlife conservation positions and serves as president of the Montana Wildlife Federation.  
  • Ryan Callaghan – As the director of conservation with hunting gear company First Lite, out of Ketchum, Idaho, Ryan coordinates with wildlife and public lands advocacy groups. He is constantly working to move the entire hunting industry towards a stronger conservation ethic.

WHERE:  Dial In:  800-351-4872; Passcode:  PETITION

HOST:     Brad Brooks and Paul Spitler, with The Wilderness Society

FOR MORE INFORMATION, CONTACT: Kate Mackay,; 602-571-2603

The Wilderness Society is the leading conservation organization working to protect wilderness and inspire Americans to care for our wild places. Founded in 1935, and now with more than 1 million members and supporters, The Wilderness Society has led the effort to permanently protect 109 million acres of wilderness and to ensure sound management of our shared national lands.