Today, a congressional committee said "yes" to protecting more outdoor recreation areas.

The Recreation Not Red-Tape (RNR) Act passed through its first round of votes in the U.S. House of Representatives Natural Resources Committee, chaired by one of the bill’s sponsors, Utah Rep. Rob Bishop.

While lobbying at the nation’s capital during Capitol Summit, Outdoor Industry Association members are asking policymakers to co-sponsor the bipartisan legislation that would update processes and policies to designate and manage more areas specifically for recreation.

“We look forward to the bill’s continued movement in the House and a speedy vote in the Senate so that recreation experiences can be improved on the public lands Americans enjoy, creating healthier communities and contributing to the $887 billion recreation economy and its 7.6 million jobs,” said Jessica Wahl, OIA's government affairs manager.

"America Outdoors Association supports the bill and thanks Chairman Bishop (R-UT) and ranking member Grijalva (D-AZ) for working together with members of the committee from both sides of the aisle to develop and modify legislation to improve access to recreation opportunities on public lands for all Americans," the association wrote in a press release.

The act was introduced by Senator Ron Wyden, D-Oregon, and Rep. Bishop, D-Utah, last summer with the full support of OIA and the larger outdoor industry.

With the approval in committee, the bill has moved to the House floor for a full vote.

Currently, Congress can designate national parks, wild and scenic rivers, and wilderness areas, while the president can designate national monuments.

However, there are many other areas that don’t meet the criteria for such designations, but still need to be protected and managed for outdoor recreation. Under the act, these places would be called National Recreation Areas, or NRAs.

Wahl, in a news release from October 2017, said the RNR Act would also:

1. Improve the special-use recreation permitting process

2. Facilitate and prioritize outdoor programs for veterans, seniors, and kids

3. Enhance the use of volunteers for maintenance and stewardship

4. Allow the National Forest Service to retain fees paid by ski area operations on public lands —currently those fees go to the general treasury of the U.S

5. Introduce new recreation-based metrics for land-manager performance evaluations

6. Create an online system for obtaining federal recreation passes

Related

Capitol Hill

Outdoor recreation's impact by congressional district

The Outdoor Industry Association didn't show up empty-handed to lobby in Washington D.C. this week. Staff brought with them Outdoor Recreation Economy reports for all 435 congressional districts—the first sets of data of their kind that show the power of a vast multi-billion ...read more

Yosemite Valley with snow and red trees

An update on California's push for a recreation office

Despite former California Governor Jerry Brown's kibosh of a bill to create an outdoor recreation office, an advocacy group is stepping up to see the legislation through under the new administration. Next Monday, California Outdoor Recreation Partnership (CORP) will lead an ...read more

Pueblo Bonito, the largest great house in Chaco Canyon, New Mexico

Update: The House passed three public lands acts

Outdoor Industry Association (OIA) sent an urgent policy alert on Tuesday, urging members to write to lawmakers in Congress using its letter generator.  The U.S. House of Representatives is slated to vote on three key pieces of public lands legislation, the Grand Canyon ...read more

Swans_over_Lower_Red_Rock_Lake_(6531264313)

BREAKING: LWCF could be restored after all

After only one full day of mourning the Land and Water Conservation Fund's expiration, hope is restored in the program's future. Today, Sen. Maria Cantwell's (D-Washington) legislation to permanently reauthorize and fully fund the LWCF passed through both Senate and House ...read more

Sierra Nevada mountain range

Win! Senate passes public lands package

"It's alive!" Patricia Rojas-Ungar and others with Outdoor Industry Association (OIA), wrote in emails on Tuesday afternoon. After much anticipation, the U.S. Senate passed (92-8) a bipartisan public lands package of 170 bills—the Natural Resources Management Act—in one full ...read more

Two people clinking red mugs in yosemite

Federal report measures outdoor industry economy at $412 billion

We all know that the outdoor recreation is an economic powerhouse. And on Thursday, the federal Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) recognized that too. A final report shows that it accounts for 2.2 percent ($412 billion) of the 2016 U.S. Gross Domestic Product. The final report ...read more

two people in a hammock over zapata falls

Congress 'dropped the ball' on LWCF reauthorization

Because the U.S. Senate failed to move forward on a critical public lands legislation package, the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) and a number of other programs will remain in limbo. Frustration in the delay came from both sides of the aisle and leaders promised to ...read more

Group hiking in Peru

This bill could simplify permitting processes for outfitters

Every year, Americans spend more on outdoor recreation than they do on pharmaceuticals and fuel, combined, the Outdoor Industry Association (OIA) reports. The outdoor recreation economy generates $887 billion in annual consumer spending, 7.6 million jobs, $65.3 billion in federal ...read more

Bryce Canyon National Park

'Once in a decade': House passes massive public lands package

One-hundred fifty days ago, a conservation and recreation program that protected public lands and water expired—a devastation to the future of public lands. But after months of build up, hope was restored today when the U.S. House passed the Natural Resources Management Act (S. ...read more