Press Release: Next 100 Coalition Welcomes Interior Secretary Zinke, Urges Efforts to Make Public Lands Inclusive
Washington, D.C. – Today, the Next 100 Coalition, a partnership of more than 40 civil rights, environmental justice, conservation and community organizations, congratulates Representative Ryan Zinke on his confirmation by the U.S. Senate to serve as Secretary of the Department of Interior (DOI).
The Next 100 Coalition urges Zinke to build on the progress of past secretaries to make public lands more inclusive and accessible to all Americans. The Next 100 Coalition is seeking a public lands system that demonstrates respect for all cultures, reflects the faces of our country, and actively engages all people — a more diverse and inclusive second century of protection and management of America’s national parks, forests, monuments and other national public lands.
The demographics of our nation are changing and the next-generation stewards of our public lands will come from diverse communities. Diversity in expertise and historic knowledge of cultural practices are critical to the protection and management of our public lands, natural resources and cultural heritage.
The Coalition encourages Secretary Zinke to work to ensure diverse voices – including tribal nations, communities of color, the LGBTQ community, low-income people and other historically marginalized communities – remain a priority in the decision-making process around the future of our parks, monuments and other public lands.
As Secretary of Interior, Zinke will be responsible for the mission of the department and its entities to protect and manage the nation’s natural resources and cultural heritage. The Coalition invites collaboration and accountability between its members and the DOI toward meeting this shared mission.
The Next 100 Coalition supports and applauds Secretary Zinke’s opposition to selling off or transferring public lands to state governments or private entities, as well as his support of the Land and Water Conservation Fund, which helps to fund trails, urban parks, ballfields and playgrounds in counties across the nation. In addition, we support his commitment to engaging the next generation of stewards with the outdoors and encourage him to use the tools identified in the recent Presidential Memorandum: Promoting Diversity and Inclusion in Our National Parks, National Forests, and Other Public Lands and Waters to do that and much more.
However, Secretary Zinke’s stated lack of commitment to upholding the designations of national monuments and the Antiquities Act is deeply concerning. These protections have the support of communities of color, small businesses, tribal nations and the American public. We oppose any actions to rescind the protections of these special places, such as Bears Ears National Monument, and will defend the authority of the President of the United States to use the Antiquities Act to conserve vulnerable and significant landscapes. Bears Ears National Monument protects and represents the cultural heritage and history of America’s most diverse communities; protecting our shared public lands and the people, histories and cultures they represent is critical to telling a more complete story of our nation – a mission supported by the Next 100 Coalition.
The Next 100 Coalition believes that creating a more diverse and inclusive public lands system requires commitment by and partnerships among the federal government, nonprofits and the private sector. We invite Secretary Zinke to join us in this pursuit to ensure inclusive visitation, protection and management of our national public lands, natural resources and cultural heritage for future generations.
Photo by Gage Skidmore
Next 100 Coalition Membership
African American Explorations
Luke Miguel Argleben, Student Advocate
Asian Pacific Policy & Planning Council
Children & Nature Network
CLLARO (Colorado Latino Leadership, Advocacy, and Research Organization)
Conservation Lands Foundation
Continental Divide Trail Coalition
Creation Justice Ministries
Diverse Environmental Leaders
Environmental Learning for Kids
Dr. Carolyn Finney, Cultural Geographer
Freedom Riders Park
Greening Youth Foundation
HECHO (Hispanics Enjoying Camping, Hunting, and the Outdoors)
Japanese American Citizens League
Brenda Kyle, Community Advocate
Latino Coalition for a Healthy California
National Urban League
New Mexico Voices for Children
Outside Las Vegas Foundation
Por La Creación Faith Based Alliance
Soul River Inc. – Runs Wild
The City Project LA
The Dignitas Agency
The Joy Trip Project
The Praxis Project
The Trail Posse
Valle del Sol
Vet Voice Foundation