Interior Secretary Zinke tours Alaska

Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke is spending several days in Alaska on his way back from a trip to Norway, and has toured Prudhoe Bay as he makes his way south.

News outlets were surprised to get official word of Zinke’s trip from Gov. Bill Walker, who broke the security embargo about the secretary’s trip on Friday, ahead of Alaska’s DC delegation. There was a mad scramble by Zinke’s security detail, Must Read Alaskawas told.

Zinke and an entourage of senators stopped in Denali National Park to meet with park staff, and Zinke said he thinks the name “Denali” will do just fine, as it has for thousands of years.

Then it was on to Alaska Veterans Memorial on Mile 147 of the Parks Highway for the Rolling Thunder Memorial Day ceremony.

On Wednesday, Zinke will be the lunch speaker at the Alaska Oil and Gas Association’s annual conference in Anchorage.

While speaking to Alaska’s resource leaders, Zinke will have an “exciting announcement” on plans for getting more oil and gas produced in Alaska. There will also be an announcement about key additions to his Alaska staff.

Before he leaves for DC on Thursday, he’ll meet with local office staff members in the many agencies under the umbrella of Interior, such as the Bureau of Land Management, the Bureau of Ocean Enegy Management, the Bureau of Indian Affairs, and the Park Service.

DEMS COME CLEAN ON GOAL TO LOCK UP ANWR: Alaska Democrats are now openly opposed to oil exploration in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.

The Alaska Democrats Facebook post encourages its followers to join an “awesome event” — a protest against Secretary Zinke when he speaks to the Alaska Oil and Gas Association on Wednesday.

CAREER PATH TO INTERIOR: Zinke was sworn in as Secretary of the Interior on March 1. He is a fifth-generation Montanan and former U.S. Navy SEAL commander, and while in Congress he championed sportsmen’s access, conservation, regulatory relief, forest management, responsible energy development, and smart management of federal lands.

Zinke coauthored the Resilient Federal Forest Act, which brought reforms to revitalize timber towns and prevent wildfires.

Raised in a logging and rail town near Glacier National Park, Ryan embraces Teddy Roosevelt’s vision of multiple use of public lands, to include economic, recreation, and conservation. He favors repealing bad regulations and using public natural resources to create jobs and wealth for Americans.

The Interior Department has 70,000+ employees who oversee 20 percent of the nation’s lands, including national parks, monuments, wildlife refuges and other lands. It also has trust responsibilities to 567 federally recognized American Indian tribes and Alaska Natives through the Bureau of Indian Affairs.

COCKTAIL TRIVIA: Zinke, who is 55 years old, played college football at the University of Oregon for four years while earning a bachelor of science degree in geology. He served for 23 years as a Navy SEAL and is the first SEAL to be elected to the House of Representatives.

Zinke has an impressive collection of military knives, which you can see him describing in this YouTube video.