U.S. Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar was in Vermont Monday, touting the economic impact of outdoor recreation and conservation.
At Brian Bibens’ Ace Hardware Store on Mallets Bay in Colchester, Salazar said the federal government will play a greater role in controlling the non-invasive species sea lamprey – a tough issue for the fisheries of Lake Champlain.
"It’s important for us, especially in this time where states and communities struggle for job creation, that we understand the connection between outdoor recreation and conservation and job creation," Salazar said. "You see it here at Brian’s hardware store. The people who walk in through those doors to buy the fishing gear, the fishing tackle, they are investing in job creation here in America."
Salazar says the Interior Department creates about 6.5 million jobs across the country through outdoor recreation each year, and he says the government needs to invest in environmental conservation even now when Washington is trying to bring down the deficit.
Salazar was beginning a five-day visit to New England in northwestern Vermont. He said the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is meeting its goals for reducing populations of lamprey for the first time in nearly 20 years.