WASHINGTON, D.C. – Utah Rep. Blake Moore, R-District 1, and a bipartisan group of congressional colleagues have introduced legislation to enhance Americans’ ability to access and enjoy public lands.
Their Recreation Not Red-Tape Act is intended to remove barriers to outdoor recreation, making it easier for Americans to enjoy public lands and boosting rural economies across the country.
“Utah vast recreation opportunities play a major role in making the Beehive State a great place to live and visit,” the freshman representative explained. “As Americans get out and enjoy all our outdoors have to offer, it is essential that we streamline our permitting processes and give our federal agencies the tools they need to respond to the major surge in outdoor recreation nationwide.”
Moore’s staff on Capitol Hill said that outdoor industries contribute nearly $900 billion in annual consumer spending to the U.S. economy and support 7.6 million American jobs.
As proposed, the Recreation Not Red-Tape Act would require the U.S. Forest Service and the Bureau of Land Management to review and simplify their permitting processes for guides and recreational enthusiasts.
The bipartisan legislation would also encourage the U.S. military services to inform service members and veterans of outdoor recreation opportunities.
Under the proposal, federal agencies would be required to prioritize outdoor recreation and increase volunteerism to address the backlog of maintenance work needed on America’s public lands.
In America, public lands are properties owned by the federal government. Those are 640 million acres of land, more than a quarter of the nation’s total area of 2.27 billion acres. Most of that land is located in the western portion of the continental United States and in Alaska.
The majority of U.S. public lands are administered by the Bureau of Land Management, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the National Park Service and the U.S. Forest Service.
About 11.4 million acres of public lands are owned by the U.S. Department of Defense.
Joining Moore in sponsoring the Recreation Not Red-Tape Act are Sen. Ron Wyden, D-OR, Rep. Don Young, R-AK, Rep. Derek Kilmer, D-WA and Rep. Debbie Dingell, D-MI. The proposal has received broad support from recreational and environmental advocacy groups.
“I am proud to introduce the Recreation Not Red-Tape Act,” Moore concluded, “which will enhance our ability to access and enjoy our public lands.”