Oregon Senator's Bill Proposes Increasing Outdoor Access, Jobs
After collecting comments from constituents last fall, Senator Ron Wyden of Oregon has introduced the "Recreation Not Red-Tape Act" to promote job growth in the outdoor recreation industry and attempts to remove barriers to the outdoors.
2019 Update: In late June, a bipartisan group of lawmakers reintroduced the Recreation Not Red Tape Act (S. 1967/H.R. 3458), aimed at protecting and improving outdoor recreation on our public lands and waters, to the 116th Congress. While it features many of the same items as the previous legislation, there are some differences. For example, the 2019 bill does not include the conducting of a study on the overall economic and cultural impact of outdoor recreation and public lands in the United States as it did in 2015.
After collecting comments from constituents last fall, Senator Ron Wyden of Oregon has introduced the "Recreation Not Red-Tape Act" (S.2706 and H.R.4790) to promote job growth in the outdoor recreation industry.
"[The bill] removes barriers to outdoor recreation, making it easier for more Americans to get outdoors -- enjoying its benefits and generating jobs," according to a fact sheet released by Wyden's office.
A major goal in the bill is listed as "modernizing recreation permitting" by increasing online availability and making federal and state passes available for purchase at the same time. The bill does not offer a proposal to create a single, joint recreation pass in partnership with state and local agencies, something WTA supports.
However, it does propose only requiring one permit for a single trip that crosses multiple types of public lands (example: a trip that crosses National Park Service Lands and U.S. Forest Service Lands).
Bill could mean good things for outdoor recreation across the country
WTA is excited about how the bill could impact outdoor recreation nationwide. Some highlights of the bill include:
- Connecting veterans with the outdoors as part of military transition programs
- Increasing availability of America the Beautiful passes for school-aged children
- Conducting a study on the overall economic and cultural impact of outdoor recreation and public lands in the United States
- Developing a management plan to extend the recreation season where appropriate
- Distributing ski area revenues for maintenance and general operating expenses of local lands
- Establishing National Recreation Area System to give increased legal protection to popular recreation corridors
- Promoting private sector volunteerism on public lands
- Increasing maintenance on 9 to 15 priority landscapes (the landscapes would be identified after passage of the bill)
- Establishing a Priority Trail Maintenance Program Fund
To learn about future opportunities to speak up on this and other issues, join WTA's Trail Action Network.