Kim Trust, a 19year U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service veteran, last fall was named chief of the National Wildlife Refuge Systems Branch of Wildlife Resources. Before coming to the Washington Office, she held various positions in the Alaska Region. Here are excerpts from a recent Refuge Update interview with her.
Q. Recommendations 17 and 18 of Conserving the Future mention working closely with state fish and wildlife agencies to provide hunting, fishing and other recreation opportunities on refuges. Why is such cooperation important?
A. Both the states and the Service have legal responsibilities to provide wildlife conservation on their lands and, where appropriate, provide recreation if it complies with our laws and requirements. Oftentimes, we have lands adjacent to state lands; we have resources that are potentially comanaged by the states and the federal government. Its important to work with the states not only so were fostering good partnerships but also so were managing wildlife in a comprehensive way.
Q. What are the most challenging issues the states and the Service face regarding hunting on refuges?
A. Our laws are different, and they can be potentially contradictory. Sometimes the mission statements of the state agencies are not exactly aligned with our mission statements. So, trying to identify common ground and overcoming those challenges can be pretty complicated and complex. A bigger issue is the changing landscape of America and what people do in terms of recreation. Hunting and fishing have always been the backbone of the Service and a lot of the state resource agencies.
Now, with folks spending more time on computers and more time indoors … I think keeping people in touch with natural resources and wild placesthats a challenge that both the states and the federal government face.
Q. Can you give an example where a state and the Refuge System have shown extraordinary cooperation on hunting, fishing or recreation issues?
A. The Minnesota Clean Water, Land and Legacy Constitutional Amendment sets aside 3/8 of one percent of all state sales tax for outdoor heritage, clean water, parks and trails, and arts and cultural heritage purposes. Litchfield Wetland Management District, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources and other conservation partnersDucks Unlimited, Pheasants Forever, The Nature Conservancyhave preserved hundreds of acres surrounding Pelican Lake, a Minnesota DNR wildlifedesignated lake outside Minneapolis. Per law, lands purchased under that program must be open for hunting and fishing.
Q. How does such cooperation benefit both the states and the Refuge System?
A. If we continue to work cooperatively to engage people on state lands and on federal lands, were going to have a constituency that will support the Refuge System, support the Fish and Wildlife Service, support conservation. If state agencies are working with kids and were working with kids, conservation will benefit into the future and keep us connected with the folks who use our resources.
Q. As the Service implements Conserving the Future, what is the most important thing the Refuge System needs to keep in mind when balancing its mission with the needs of hunters and fishers?
A. History tends to get lost as the newest technogadget or whizbang activity comes along. I think the Service and the Refuge System are built on the backs of hunters and fishers and those people who really use the resourcereally appreciate the land for what it provides in terms of recreation and also in terms of feeding the spirit, feeding the soul. As we move forward into the future, we have to make sure that we recognize and pay homage to our past.