Federal Recreation Policy Package Up for Consideration
With outdoor recreation participation growing, there are many opportunities to improve how public lands are managed. CAMTB’s federal advocacy partner, Outdoor Alliance, has been working for years to develop and pass a Federal recreation policy package to improve outdoor recreation on public lands and waters.
Now, the Senate and House each have complementary packages of outdoor recreation policy: America’s Outdoor Recreation Act (AORA) in the Senate and the Expanding Public Lands Outdoor Recreation Experiences (EXPLORE) Act in the House.
These bills take important steps to expand and improve outdoor recreation opportunities. The highlights include the Biking on Long Distance Trails Act (BOLT) to identify and create more long-distance bike trails, the Protecting America’s Rock Climbing Act (PARC) to safeguard Wilderness climbing, the Simplifying Outdoor Access for Recreation Act (SOAR) that will improve recreational permitting for outfitters and guides, and permanent direction for the Outdoor Recreation Legacy Partnership (ORLP) and Federal Interagency Council on Outdoor Recreation (FICOR).
Outdoor Alliance continues to work closely with lawmakers to refine these bills, and members of Congress are eager to hear from the outdoor community. Use the easy-action form below to quickly send a personalized letter to your representatives.
More About the Federal Recreation Policy Package
BOLT, PARC, SOAR, FICO, and the ORLP Explained
Biking on Long Distance Trails Act (BOLT)
The BOLT Act will help create more sustainable long-distance mountain biking trails. The bill directs land management agencies to identify existing and potential long-distance bike trails and then work with mountain bikers and other stakeholders to develop and promote these trails. A number of existing trails would benefit from recognition as a long-distance bike trail, including the Ouachita National Recreation Trail in Arkansas and the Great Divide Mountain Bike Trail that runs from the Canada to Mexico border. You can also read IMBA’s full testimony on the bill here.
Protecting America’s Rock Climbing Act (PARC)
Rock climbing in the U.S. has a long history, and climbers have ranked among the most well-known conservationists in the last century. Recent proposals to prohibit fixed anchors in Wilderness have highlighted the need for consistent, common-sense guidance around climbing, especially climbing in Wilderness. Some of the most storied rock climbs in the country are in Wilderness—including El Capitan in Yosemite National Park and Longs Peak in Rocky Mountain National Park—and are threatened by land management agencies’ new interpretation of the Wilderness Act. The PARC Act will help safeguard Wilderness climbing, a historic use, by reaffirming the appropriateness of climbing on public lands and directing national-level guidance on placing and maintaining fixed anchors in Wilderness. The PARC Act would solidify Congress’s intent to allow climbing in Wilderness and would help ensure climbers can continue to enjoy sustainable access. You can also read Access Fund’s full testimony on the bill here.
Simplifying Outdoor Access for Recreation Act (SOAR)
The SOAR Act has been a priority for Outdoor Alliance and its member groups for a decade now. The SOAR Act facilitates meaningful outdoor experiences by updating and streamlining recreational permitting for outfitters and guides, including Outdoor Alliance members like The Mountaineers. Special use permitting, the kind that allows guides to take people out to experience public lands for the first time, uses a dated and challenging system. The SOAR Act would simplify and modernize recreation permitting to make the outdoors more accessible.
Federal Interagency Council on Outdoor Recreation (FICO)
The EXPLORE Act would make the Federal Interagency Council on Outdoor Recreation (FICOR) permanent. FICOR is a council that helps land managers coordinate and focuses on improving access to nature and expanding outdoor recreation opportunities.
Outdoor Recreation Legacy Partnership
The Outdoor Recreation Legacy Partnership (ORLP) program provides grant funding for urban areas to develop green spaces and outdoor access, with priority given to economically disadvantaged areas and neighborhoods without existing outdoor recreation opportunities. The EXPLORE Act would make ORLP permanent, expanding green space in communities that need it most.