Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke will visit Yosemite, Sequoia and Kings Canyon national parks Thursday and Friday, an Interior spokeswoman told The Sacramento Bee on Tuesday in an email.
Zinke will start a California visit Thursday with Gov. Jerry Brown in Sacramento. Zinke plans on discussing water, fire, infrastructure and conservation with Brown before heading to the parks, Interior spokeswoman Heather Swift said.
Zinke’s U.S. Department of the Interior oversees the federal agencies that manage national parks, mines, wildlife refuges, dams and water projects, Indian affairs and The Bureau of Land Management.
Zinke’s Bureau of Reclamation and Fish and Wildlife Service will play a critical role in determining whether Brown’s controversial project to burrow two massive tunnels beneath the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta gets regulatory approval from the federal government.
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No other details of Zinke’s planned visit were immediately available.
It follows President Barack Obama’s visit to Yosemite in June 2016.
Zinke, formerly a congressman from Montana, was appointed to the Interior post by President Donald Trump in December and confirmed in March.
Zinke is familiar with California – his wife is a native of Santa Barbara and, while in the Navy (he’s a former SEAL), the couple owned a home in Imperial Beach.
Earlier this year, Zinke co-hosted at his in-law’s California home a fundraiser for fellow Republican Justin Fareed, who was running in the House district that spans San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara counties. Zinke, in turn, has raised a lot of his own money from Californians for his two House races. From the San Francisco, Los Angeles and Long Beach metropolitan areas, Zinke has reported raising about $221,000, records compiled by the Center for Responsive Politics show.
Other donors include the Fresno-based California Westside Farmers Political Action Committee, as well as individual farmers in Fresno, Madera and Merced counties, among others.
The Sacramento Bee and McClatchy Washington Bureau contributed to this report.