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ICYMI: Interior Continues to Safely Restore Access to Public Lands

May 26, 2020

WASHINGTON - This week, U.S. Secretary of the Interior David L. Bernhardt traveled to New Mexico and Arizona before joining President Donald J. Trump at Fort McHenry in Baltimore, Maryland to commemorate Memorial Day. The Secretary met with Tribal leadership, staff from the National Park Service, Bureau of Indian Affairs and U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, and visitors to our public lands to ensure the Department of the Interior is safely restoring access to America’s public lands.  

Honoring America’s Heroes   

On Monday, President Donald J. Trump held a Memorial Day ceremony at Fort McHenry National Monument and Historic Shrine in Baltimore, Maryland. Secretary Bernhardt joined the President to honor and memorialize the service and sacrifice of those who gave their lives in defense of our great Nation.

President Trump and First Lady Melania Trump at Fort McHenry National Monument and Historic Shrine for a Memorial Day ceremony.

President Trump and First Lady Melania Trump at Fort McHenry National Monument and Historic Shrine for a Memorial Day ceremony in Baltimore, MD. (Photo Credit: NPS Photographer) 

Upholding our Trust Responsibilities to Tribal Communities

Secretary Bernhardt met with Tribal leaders from the Navajo Nation and the All Pueblo Board of Governors to support their efforts to combat the COVID-19 pandemic. He also visited the Gila River Indian Community along with Arizona Senator Martha McSally. In addition, the Secretary extended the comment period on the Farmington Resource Management Plan and Environmental Impact Statement, which includes areas near Chaco Canyon National Historic Park, by 120 days as we work with Tribes to combat the coronavirus. Read the Albuquerque Journal’s article for more.

ecretary Bernhardt and Gila River Indian Community Governor Stephen Roe Lewis inspect a river restoration project.

Secretary Bernhardt and Gila River Indian Community Governor Stephen Roe Lewis inspect a river restoration and groundwater recharge project at the Gila River Indian Community.

Secretary Bernhardt is greeted by Senator Martha McSally (R-AZ) at the Gila River Indian Community.

Secretary Bernhardt is greeted by Senator Martha McSally (R-AZ) at the Gila River Indian Community, Chandler, AZ.

Expanding Access to America’s Public Lands 

Secretary Bernhardt visited Petroglyph National Monument and Valle de Oro National Wildlife Refuge in Albuquerque, NM, which have remained accessible throughout the pandemic. Read the Albuquerque Journal’s article for more.

He also visited Grand Canyon National Park in Arizona to thank park staff for their work to safely restore access to the public.

Secretary Bernhardt and NPS Staff at Boca Negra Canyon, Petroglyph National Monument.

Secretary Bernhardt and NPS staff at Boca Negra Canyon, Petroglyph National Monument, Albuquerque, NM.

Secretary Bernhardt inspects building plans for Valle de Oro National Wildlife Refuge with FWS Staff.

Secretary Bernhardt inspects building plans for Valle de Oro National Wildlife Refuge with FWS staff, Albuquerque, NM.

Local residents welcome Secretary Bernhardt to Grand Canyon National Park and expanding access to the park.

Local residents welcome Secretary Bernhardt to Grand Canyon National Park and expanding access to the park.

Public Lands Provide Opportunities for Communities to Thrive

Secretary Bernhardt was joined by Representative Paul Gosar (AZ-4) to announce two critical projects that support President Trump’s America First, all-of-the-above energy development agenda. The land conveyance in La Paz County, AZ under the Dingell Act of 2019 will facilitate the development of a massive solar facility, that has the potential of producing up to 850 Megawatts of power, which would be the largest solar project in the nation. Read the Parker Pioneer's article for more.

The Secretary also announced the completion of a land exchange 26 years in the making. This final step allows for the expansion of hunting and recreation access, responsible mineral development and significant benefits for endangered species, riparian habitat and established wilderness areas in Pinal, Gila, and Mohave Counties in AZ. Find more information here

Secretary Bernhardt, Representative Gosar, join BLM staff and stakeholders to announce projects supporting President Trump’s Energy Dominance agenda.

Secretary Bernhardt and Representative Gosar (right)join BLM staff and stakeholders at the Yavapai County Courthouse to announce projects supporting President Trump’s America First, all-of-the above energy development agenda, Prescott, AZ.



Photo Credit: All photos not otherwise credited taken by Tami Heilemann, Department Photographer.
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