United States Secretary of the Interior David Bernhardt is coming to Alabama on Tuesday for a tour of the Bon Secour National Wildlife Refuge on the southern tip of Baldwin County.
He will be accompanied by U.S. Representative Bradley Byrne (R-Fairhope), whose southwest Alabama district includes the refuge.
The Department of the Interior says the trip is “part of an ongoing effort to increase access to public lands managed by the Department.”
Secretary Bernhardt will inspect the refuge for its public accessibility and pitch in on a coastal restoration effort.
Bernhardt, originally from Colorado, has worked at the Department of the Interior (DOI) since 2001, serving in a variety of positions including deputy secretary for the first two years of the Trump administration.
He ascended to head of the Department in January 2019 after his predecessor, Ryan Zinke, was asked to resign amid an ethics scandal involving the use of taxpayer money for personal comforts.
Bernhardt has expanded the number of wildlife refuges eligible for hunting and fishing, two activities he himself enjoys.
Bon Secour National Wildlife Refuge was designated by Congress in 1980 and is a protected habitat for rare tropical songbirds, the endangered Alabama beach mouse and three types of endangered sea turtles.
According to its website, “Bon Secour” is French for “safe harbor,” and the location is “some of Alabama’s last remaining undisturbed coastal barrier habitat.”