Several members of Congress introduced the Outdoor Recreation Act, bipartisan legislation that would increase and improve outdoor recreation opportunities across the nation while improving infrastructure and driving economic growth in rural communities.
“Federal lands are an important resource for outdoor recreation, including hunting and target shooting, but an array of red tape and fees can limit people’s recreational opportunities and access. America’s Outdoor Recreation Act brings common-sense solutions to the regulatory and informational barriers that many of our members have experienced,” said Blake Henning, chief conservation officer for the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation.
America’s Outdoor Recreation Act would:
- Direct the Department of the Interior and the Forest Service to establish a pilot program for public-private partnership agreements to modernize campgrounds on federal land.
- Ensure that outdoor recreation is considered by land managers alongside other uses of federal land by directing the Forest Service and the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) to consider ways to improve recreation when developing and revising land management plans.
- Support rural communities adjacent to recreations areas by providing technical and financial assistance to local businesses, including hotels, campgrounds and restaurants to support visitation.
- Direct the Forest Service to issue guidance for recreational climbing in designated wilderness areas and requires the Forest Service and BLM to designate many new shooting ranges on national forests and BLM land.
- Aim to modernize recreation sites by directing agencies to work with the Department of Commerce to construct broadband internet infrastructure at certain recreation sites.
- Direct the federal land management agencies to identify opportunities to extend the period of time recreation areas on federal land are open to the public during shoulder seasons.
“These include establishing shooting ranges so hunters have safe places to practice, identifying where and when vehicles can be used on forest roads, utilizing all the parts of animals taken from cull hunts within parks, allowing hunters to document and share their experiences on video, and streamlining outfitting and guiding permits. Passage of America’s Outdoor Recreation Act will be a benefit for all outdoors enthusiasts,” added Henning.
(Photo credit: Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife)