This morning, the Subcommittee on Public Lands and Environmental Regulation held a hearing titled “Impediments to Public Recreation on Public Lands.” This Subcommittee is an important part of the House Natural Resources Committee, is chaired by Congressman Rob Bishop of Utah, and has a heavy hand in designing and putting forward public land legislation.
In advance of the hearing, Outdoor Alliance submitted written testimony. In it, we thank the Subcommittee for considering access to recreation. Our nation’s system of public lands and waters is unparalleled, due in part to discussions, including this hearing, about access and balance. To add to the discussion, we list the primary impediments to recreation access, along with some key facilitators of access.
Specifically, we identify four top impediments:
- Energy and other development that does not carefully balance other values and uses of public lands
- Gaps in recreation management and uneven use of modern recreation management tools
- Underfunded land management agencies
- Efforts to transfer federal lands to western states
And three factors that actually enhance recreation access:
- Protective land designations
- Federal funding mechanisms for recreation access and strategic land acquisition
- Innovative approaches to land management planning that involve the public
We are encouraged by efforts like this hearing, as well as the recently proposed 21stCentury Great Outdoors Commission Act, that consider the large and growing needs and contributions of recreation on public lands.
For more on each of the impediments and facilitating factors, please read our letter here.