Interior Secretary Salazar Applauded for Commitment to National Conservation Lands

Conservationists Applaud Secretary Salazar’s Commitment to Protecting, Restoring, and Expanding our National Conservation Lands

Secretary Salazar at the dedication of the Fort Ord National Monument

Secretary Salazar at Fort Ord National Monument (Photo credit: Gordon Smith)

January 16, 2013 – Today, Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar announced that he will step down from his cabinet post at the end of March and return to Colorado. Secretary Salazar served for the full first term of the Obama administration and oversaw significant developments for how our country’s National Conservation Lands are managed.

The National Conservation Lands encompass 28 million acres administered by the Bureau of Land Management. They include Native American cultural sites, the rivers that Lewis and Clark explored and vast undeveloped mountain ranges. Encompassing 17 National Monuments, 16 National Conservation Areas and hundreds of Wilderness Areas, the National Conservation Lands have joined the ranks of our National Parks and National Wildlife Refuges as places that protect our nation’s natural, cultural and scientific treasures.

In response to Sec. Salazar’s announcement, Conservation Lands Foundation Executive Director Brian O’Donnell issued the following statement:

When Ken Salazar became the Secretary of the Interior the National Conservation Lands faced a myriad of threats. Just four years later, Secretary Salazar has helped turn the National Conservation Lands around, ensuring a bright future for these iconic landscapes and the western communities that depend on them.

Thanks to Secretary Salazar’s leadership, the Department of the Interior and the BLM crafted new strategies and policies, realizing a vision that will shape the conservation management of these lands and waters for decades to come.

Secretary Salazar helped expand the National Conservation Lands by championing the proposal to designate Fort Ord in Monterey, CA as a national monument, ensuring that this national treasure will be enjoyed by future generations.

In Alaska’s western arctic, Secretary Salazar crafted a balanced approach that permitted responsible energy development while protecting world-class wildlife habitat and lands important to indigenous communities.

Through hard work, vision, and a deep regard for the health of our public lands and western communities, Secretary Salazar has made a lasting difference. We would like to thank him for his service to our country and our land.

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