On behalf of the members and supporters of the Wyoming Wildlife Federation and the National Wildlife Federation, we write in support of the confirmation of Robert Wallace, nominee for assistant secretary for fish, wildlife, and parks at the Department of the Interior.
This important position has remained vacant for far too long. Many critical issues require overdue attention, from wildlife species in crisis and habitat at risk, to public lands infrastructure in dire need of maintenance. The important role of assistant secretary for fish, wildlife and parks demands an appointee who understands the importance of protecting our public lands, recovering wildlife populations, expanding recreational access, and restoring balance to the management of our shared natural heritage.
We believe that Mr. Wallace will bring the right skills to this role, informed by his long personal history in conservation and commitment to public service. As a young man, Mr. Wallace worked as a seasonal ranger in Grand Teton National Park before serving as assistant director of the National Park Service. As a founding member of the Grand Teton National Park Foundation and a co-founder and president of the Upper Green River Conservancy, Mr. Wallace has firsthand experience bringing communities together to conserve important landscapes and wildlife habitat in his home state of Wyoming — work built upon uniting Americans through our shared conservation values.
We had the pleasure recently of meeting with Mr. Wallace. We discussed the many ways in which this position can serve as a leading voice in the Department for advancing collaborative conservation and bringing a more balanced approach to managing development pressures on our shared public lands. We talked too of the escalating wildlife crisis, which threatens more than one-third of U.S. species and a million species worldwide with potential extinction, unless we act urgently and collaboratively with state agencies, tribes, conservation organizations, industry, and private landowners to restore, reconnect, and improve the resilience of habitat, remove invasive species, eradicate disease, reduce toxic pollutants and act on climate.
From our conversation, and through testimony before the Senate committees on Environment and Public Works and Energy and Natural Resources, it is clear that Mr. Wallace has a deep understanding of the issues facing both the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the National Park Service — and the entire Department of the Interior. He is committed to finding science-based solutions and tackling problems in a collaborative way that puts everyone at the table and does not predetermine outcomes. As Mr. Wallace himself said, in his confirmation hearing, “partner is an easy word to say, but a hard word to implement.”
The Wyoming Wildlife Federation and National Wildlife Federation believe that Rob Wallace will be an excellent assistant secretary for fish, wildlife and parks. We encourage our friends on both sides of the aisle to support his confirmation and work with him to pass important legislation like the Recovering America’s Wildlife Act, the Restore Our Parks and Public Lands Act, and the Land and Water Conservation Fund Permanent Funding Act. We look forward to working with Mr. Wallace as partners in addressing the many challenges America’s wildlife and public lands face.