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Press Release

Committee Republicans Champion Outdoor Recreation Legislation to Explore America's Public Lands

Today, the Subcommittee on Federal Lands held a legislative hearing on eight bills promoting recreational activities and public land access for every American. Subcommittee Chairman Tom Tiffany (R-Wis.) issued the following statement in response:

"Federal lands provide memories that last a lifetime with their countless outdoor recreation opportunities; however, that is not the case for all due to inefficient permitting processes, persistent access issues, and skyrocketing deferred maintenance backlogs. If it’s not multiple-use land, then it’s not public land. I look forward to advancing the eight bipartisan bills we heard about today, which will allow the American people access to fully enjoy their federal lands."


Federal lands offer an abundance of outdoor recreation opportunities including hiking, biking, rock climbing, camping, kayaking, canoeing, skiing, hunting, fishing and recreational shooting. The slate of legislation discussed in today's hearing will help improve these opportunities and make them more accessible for Americans across the country to explore the full bounty of what our public lands have to offer. These bills represent the kind of bipartisan legislation that will expand recreational opportunities and access on our federal lands and waters.

As skiing in federal lands continues to grow in popularity, the U.S. Forest Service (USFS) is struggling to maintain ski areas, surrounding infrastructure and access, in addition to keeping up with the needed pace and scale of forest management treatments necessary to reduce wildfire risks. The bipartisan Ski Hill Resources for Economic Development Act of 2023 would help USFS address these issues by keeping revenues local.

Biking continues to surge in popularity on federal lands and many trails are becoming overcrowded. The bipartisan Biking on Long-Distance Trails Act will alleviate these pressures by increasing the number of long-distance biking trails on federal lands.   

Rock climbing is another popular outdoor activity which brings a significant economic boost to many communities. Federal land management agencies manage approximately 60 percent of climbing areas but do not have a consistent policy on fixed anchor use. The bipartisan Protecting America's Rock Climbing Act will direct the secretaries of Agriculture and the Interior to issue guidance on the appropriateness of fixed anchors on federal lands. 

Oftentimes, outdoor recreation on federal lands can be complicated and costly due to various fees. The bipartisan Simplifying Outdoor Access for Recreation Act is intended to reduce the cost and complexity of recreating on federal lands. 

Filming on federal lands is also a convoluted and often costly process due to outdated permitting rules. The Federal Interior Land Media Actwould modernize these processes and ensure regulations reflect modern technology. 

Sportsmen and women depend on federal lands for reliable access to target shooting ranges. Ensuring access and developing infrastructure is crucial to inspiring the next generation of sportsmen and women. The bipsartisan Range Access Act directs the secretaries of the Interior and Agriculture to identify and establish new target shooting ranges across the country. 

Congress often works to expand recreation access to Americans who work to keep us safe. The Law Enforcement Officer and Firefighter Recreation Pass Act would provide free annual recreation passes to national parks and public lands to all federal, state, tribal and local law enforcement officers and firefighters, similar to the Alexander Lofgren Veterans in Parks Act that was signed into law in 2021. 

The 1.8 million-acre Ouachita National Forest in Arkansas and Oklahoma is a recreation destination for hundreds of thousands of people annually. However, since a tragic flood in 2010, overnight camping has not been allowed. The Ouachita National Forest Overnight Camping Act is in response to the community's desire to reopen overnight camping and reopens sites which are not at risk of flood danger.