Press Release

U.S. Senate Confirms Secretary of the Interior

March 15, 2021

In Response to the Confirmation of U.S. Representative Deb Haaland as Secretary of the Interior

Statement from Sandra Marra, President & CEO of the Appalachian Trail Conservancy

“The Appalachian Trail Conservancy (ATC) celebrates the historic nature of Secretary-designate Haaland’s appointment and confirmation to lead the Department of the Interior. As the first Native American ever to be confirmed head of a US Department, Secretary-designate Haaland not only brings years of experience serving the public and public lands throughout her life in New Mexico and Washington, D.C. She will also help incorporate the perspectives of indigenous people in public land management, which advances the reality that lands have both history and inherent value that must be respected. This perspective will enrich public lands management on a variety of issues, from recreational access to encroaching development to climate change. The ATC is committed to working with Secretary-designate Haaland on these issues and to promoting stewardship, recreational access, and the unique and valuable assets of the Appalachian National Scenic Trail.”

Today the U.S. Senate voted to confirm U.S. Representative Deb Haaland as Secretary of the Interior. An enrolled member of the Laguna Pueblo and a 35th generation New Mexican, Secretary-designate Haaland will be the first Native American Cabinet Secretary in the history of the United States. The Department of the Interior oversees much of the American public lands system as well as facilitates much of the government-to-government relationships with federally recognized tribal nations. Her historic appointment to lead the Department of the Interior will hopefully increase the respect for the obligations the U.S. government holds for public trust resources like the Appalachian National Scenic Trail as well as the obligations the United States holds towards American Indian, Alaska Native and Native Hawaiian communities.

About the Appalachian Trail Conservancy
The ATC was founded in 1925 by volunteers and federal officials working to build a continuous footpath along the Appalachian Mountains. A unit of the National Park System, the A.T. ranges from Maine to Georgia and is 2,193.1 miles in length. It is the longest hiking-only footpath in the world. The mission of the ATC is to protect, manage, and advocate for the Appalachian National Scenic Trail. For more information, please visit

Media Contact: Jordan Bowman
Appalachian Trail Conservancy
Tel: 304.885.0794


Banner photograph courtesy of Amelia Cary