Outdoor Recreation Groups, Outdoor Businesses Applaud Bipartisan Legislation to Improve Outdoor Recreation on America’s Public Lands
Outdoor Alliance and Outdoor Industry Association Commend Congress on the Introduction of the Recreation-Not-Red-Tape Act
July 26, 2017 (Washington, D.C.) – Today, Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR) and Representative Rob Bishop (R-UT) introduced a bipartisan bill that will update processes and policies on our national public lands to improve the outdoor recreation experience. The Recreation-Not-Red-Tape Act (RNR) aims to reduce barriers to outdoor recreation access, and improve public land management for Americans who enjoy skiing, climbing, mountain biking, hiking, fishing, hunting, and paddling on public lands and waters.
Like last year’s REC Act, the RNR Act is a commonsense bipartisan plan for improving outdoor recreation on our public lands and growing the outdoor recreation economy. Outdoor Alliance and Outdoor Industry Association are particularly excited by the inclusion of a new organic designation, National Recreation Areas, that will offer tailored management for landscapes with highly valuable outdoor recreation resources.
“Millions of Americans enjoy outdoor recreation on our national public lands,” said Adam Cramer, Executive Director of the Outdoor Alliance. “We are pleased to see the bipartisan effort of Senator Wyden and Chairman Bishop to streamline and improve outdoor recreation access for all Americans. The Recreation-Not-Red-Tape Act provides commonsense tools for improving access to outdoor recreation. It will foster better tailored land management and help protect more public land for its recreation value as well protecting habitats, clean air and water.”
As outdoor recreation grows in popularity and in economic impact, land management agencies need updated tools to protect and improve access to America’s public lands and waters. The RNR Act offers sensible, non-controversial proposals for identifying, protecting, and appropriately managing important places for outdoor recreation.
“As evidenced by the $887 billion in consumer spending and the 7.6 million jobs supported by the outdoor industry, recreation on public lands is as popular in the 21st century as any other time in our nation’s history, and it’s one of our biggest economic drivers,” said Amy Roberts, Outdoor Industry Association’s Executive Director. “Unfortunately, many of the regulations and agency policies that govern our public land’s use are outdated. We support the bipartisan effort of Senator Wyden and Chairman Bishop to update antiquated processes and reduce barriers to recreation for today’s outdoor users. We believe the pragmatic approach of the Recreation Not Red Tape bill will lead to healthier communities and healthier economies across the country.”
The outdoor recreation community weighed in with its support for the RNR Act. Lee Davis, Executive Director of the Mazamas, an Oregon-based mountaineering education nonprofit, said, “The Mazamas has dealt with plenty of red tape in pursuing our passion for adventure in the outdoors. Sen. Wyden’s Recreation Not Red-Tape act targets the problems that many of our federal agencies face when trying to balance access and conservation. RNR addresses a range of issues from outfitter-guide permitting and trail stewardship to protecting recreation areas throughout the country. The Mazamas fully supports RNR and its focus to remove barriers to getting more people outdoors, enjoying their public lands and boosting local economies.”
Two organizations representing climbers also shared their support for. "For climbers, public lands are our nation’s greatest asset and where we practice our craft,” said Maria Millard, Policy Director for the American Alpine Club. Ensuring access to these lands for human-powered recreation attracts tourism dollars, strengthens communities and enhances quality of life. We support the Recreation-Not-Red Tape Act because by prioritizing recreation values and addressing land management conflicts, more people will be able to enjoy getting out onto our public lands."
Erik Murdock, Policy Director for the Access Fund, a national advocacy organization working to keep climbing areas open and conserved, said, “The Recreation-Not-Red-Tape Act improves access to our public lands and strengthens partnerships that help get Americans outside. This is an important step toward making sure that outdoor recreation is always considered a primary use of our public lands."
Mountain bikers also spoke out in support of the bill: "At a time when mountain biking continues to grow in popularity, it's great to see forward-thinking policy like the Recreation-Not-Red-Tape Act. This bipartisan bill recognizes the value of more flexible land protection designations like National Recreation Areas, the benefits of including "recreation" in the missions of more land management agencies, and how expanding seasonal recreation can strengthen local economies. Ultimately, the Recreation-Not-Red-Tape Act will help improve public access to trails for mountain bikers and other recreationalists," said Aaron Clark of the International Mountain Bicycling Association.
Thomas O’Keefe, Pacific Northwest Stewardship Director of American Whitewater, said, "We are excited with the opportunities this legislation creates to better recognize federal employees who embrace sustainable outdoor recreation on our public lands and work to improve the quality of the user experience. This will promote more partnerships and recognize those federal land managers who encourage efforts to improve the quality of facilities and visitor satisfaction."
"For paddlers, countless rivers flow through public lands and are treasured assets that allow paddlers to explore the magic of America's most revered natural landscapes. It is vital that we work collectively to ensure that the paddling community has access to our public lands. Paddling recreation strengthens local communities, economies, and embraces quality of life. The American Canoe Association supports the Recreation-Not-Red Tape Act because prioritizing recreation values and addressing land management conflicts, allows paddlers access to the rivers, lakes, and seas that exist within our public lands,” said Brett Mayer, Policy Chief at the American Canoe Association.
Public lands offer many exceptional opportunities for outdoor recreation, but too often unique or exceptional settings for outdoor recreation are not formally recognized in land use planning. This legislation, including its system of National Recreation Areas, will identify and protect landscapes where sustainable outdoor recreation should be a priority use.
Outdoor Alliance is a nonprofit coalition of organizations that include American Whitewater, American Canoe Association, Access Fund, International Mountain Bicycling Association, Winter Wildlands Alliance, the Mountaineers, and American Alpine Club. Outdoor Alliance has regional networks across the west, including Colorado, that brings together local recreation voices to advocate for public lands. Outdoor Alliance unites backcountry skiers, hikers, paddlers, mountain bikers, boaters, and climbers who share a commitment to protecting public lands. For more information, visit outdooralliance.org.
About Outdoor Industry Association
Based in Boulder, Colo., with offices in Washington, D.C., Outdoor Industry Association (OIA) is the leading trade association for the outdoor industry and the title sponsor of Outdoor Retailer. OIA unites and serves over 1,200 manufacturers, supplier, sales representative and retailer members through its focus on trade and recreation policy, sustainable business innovation and outdoor participation. For more information, visit outdoorindustry.org.