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Panel Reviews Legislation to Improve Recreation Opportunities on Federal Lands

WASHINGTON, D.C., October 3, 2017 -

Today, the Subcommittee on Federal Lands held a legislative hearing on H.R. 3400, the bipartisan “Recreation Not Red-Tape Act” or “RNR Act.” Introduced by Chairman Rob Bishop (R-UT) and Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR), the bill lowers regulatory barriers to increase public access to outdoor recreation opportunities on federal lands. 

“I’m excited about [this particular bill]. It’s bipartisan, it’s bicameral and it clearly recognizes that recreation is a key element for why we have public lands in the first place,” Chairman Bishop said. “I see [this bill] as a tool… to make sure that recreation is open to Americans.”

The outdoor recreation industry annually generates 7.6 million American jobs and $887 billion in consumer spending, according to the Outdoor Industry Association. This robust economic engine is also a win for the American taxpayers, resulting in $65.3 billion in federal tax revenue and $59.2 billion at the state and local level.

My hope is that ‘RNR [Act]’ is an opportunity for us to renew the bipartisan spirit in advancing the recreation of public lands,” Former Natural Resources Committee Chairman Nick Rahall (D-WV) stated.

Nevertheless, bureaucratic roadblocks often inhibit access to outdoor recreation.

The ‘RNR Act’ greatly enhances public access, that has been increasingly discouraged over the past several decades by an ever-expanding web of fees, permits and waiting lists – all the hallmarks of a thriving bureaucracy,” Subcommittee on Federal Lands Chairman Tom McClintock (R-CA) said. “People have a choice of where and how to spend their recreational time, and when we fail to provide a hassle-free experience for them, they go elsewhere.”

Our federal lands serve as the foundation for all kinds of outdoor economies for each of our states,” Subcommittee on Federal Lands Ranking Member Colleen Hanabusa (D-HI) added. Many small businesses rely on dependable access to federal lands, so it is important that congress identify opportunities to improve visitor services and the overall administration of recreation on federal lands.

The “RNR Act” includes provisions that modernize and streamline the special recreation permitting process, increase veteran participation and access to outdoor programs and establish a National Recreation Area System.  

“Our colleagues on both sides of the aisle and both sides of the Capitol should be interested in cutting red tape to open access to outdoor recreation,” Senator Wyden stated.

Our country’s public lands are the birthright of every American, and we are extremely pleased to see bipartisan, common sense legislation aimed at protecting and enhancing opportunities to sustainably enjoy outdoor recreation,” Policy Director for the Outdoor Alliance Louis Geltman said.

Click here for full witness testimony. 

Contact: Committee Press Office 202-226-9019

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