CARSON CITY, NV (KXNT) – Western hunters and anglers are using a speaking engagement by Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke in Salt Lake City to send a message to do more to protect public lands in the west. Full-page ads in the Deseret News and Salt Lake Tribune include the tag line “Protect the land and you protect everything that comes with it.”

On Thursday, United States Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke was in Nevada, helping clear trash from public land near Las Vegas that’s been used for target practice. On Friday, Zinke is in Salt Lake City to give a speech, where hunter, anglers and conservation groups are running full-page newspaper ads to send him a message. Tracy Stone-Manning with the National Wildlife Federation is troubled by recent Interior Department decision, including undoing master leasing plans for development on public lands. She says extraction can coexist with other activities, but it takes careful planning and input from local communities.

“And our concern is that we’re losing those tools to do energy development right. So, this is sportsmen and women saying, ‘These are really important places to us, that we have to leave as is for future generations'”

Manning notes that master leasing plans allow people who really know local landscapes, like hunters, to have a say in which areas are left untouched. She say prioritizing energy production upsets the Interior Department’s traditional balanced approach to multiple uses of public lands. She adds western economies are doing pretty well and unemployment numbers are low.

“Can we do better? Yes. But not at the expense of our hunting experiences of clean water, of clean air, of how we live and play on these lands as westerners,” Stone-Manning said.

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