WASHINGTON – The Obama administration today announced that Harris Sherman, executive director of the Colorado Department Natural Resources, will be nominated as undersecretary of natural resources and the environment for the U.S. Department of Agriculture, a position that oversees vast tracts of America’s public lands and fish, wildlife and recreational resources. The Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership, a national sportsmen’s group, responded to Sherman’s nomination by stressing the continued need to safeguard these valuable lands and resources.
A primary focus of the undersecretary involves leadership of the U.S. Forest Service, which administers more than 191 million acres of national forests and grasslands. The TRCP is particularly invested in ensuring the responsible management of the nation’s close to 60 million acres of inventoried roadless areas. To that end, the conservation group has mobilized a broad cross-section of sportsmen, conservationists and recreationists in support of roadless area management that sustains important habitat and activities such as hunting and fishing.
“We would like to congratulate Mr. Sherman and ask that he promote the long-term conservation of our backcountry hunting and fishing traditions,” said Joel Webster, associate director of campaigns for the TRCP Center for Western Lands, “including upholding and defending the Roadless Area Conservation Rule, which safeguards our nation’s roadless areas, should he be confirmed as undersecretary.”
Outdoors-oriented groups and others presently are engaged in the creation of a state rule for the management of more than 4 million acres of roadless areas in Colorado. The proposed Colorado roadless rule has drawn criticism from sportsmen for language allowing significant backcountry development that could negatively affect these lands and the outdoor traditions they support.
“The Colorado roadless rule must live up to the high standards set by the national roadless rule,” continued Webster. “Roadless areas provide important habitat security for big-game animals and clean water for trout and salmon. We will continue to work to ensure that Colorado’s backcountry heritage and economy are sustained through a strong roadless rule.”
Sherman’s nomination must be confirmed by Congress before he officially assumes the role of undersecretary.