Access Fund’s Executive Director Brady Robinson today testified
before the House Appropriations Committee on Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies, asking for adequate funding for the Departments of Interior and Agriculture to ensure sufficient access for Americans to parks and public lands. The hearing considered spending priorities for the FY 2012 budget.
“Americans should have access to public lands—from community playgrounds to Yosemite National Park—for recreational activities,” testified Robinson. “What’s more, this outdoor access supports a growing $730 billion industry—representing more than 6.6 million jobs and more than $88 billion in annual tax revenue. This isn’t just about saving the environment. It’s about saving private sector and small townjobs.”
The Access Fund’s testimony supports a common sense budget approach that will adequately fund
Departments of Interior and Agriculture, focusing on activities that are essential to providing public
recreation access to high quality public lands and waters.
Robinson said: “Our experience shows that adequate funding for federal land managers is required to
support the access and enjoyment of the cherished public lands and rivers they manage…. indiscriminate
budget cuts to these agencies would mean less access to and conservation of our public land.”
In his testimony, Robinson illustrated cases, such as for rock climbers, in which public access suffers
when federal land managers have inadequate funding: “The Red River Gorge in Kentucky’s Daniel Boone
National Forest contains one of the largest concentrations of high quality rock in the United States and
attracts visitors from around the world, yet the Forest Service doesn’t have the resources to balance all of
its obligations and still provide for the proper management of these world class climbing opportunities.” In
such scenarios, local economies suffer.
In addition to representing the Access Fund, the national advocacy organization that keeps climbing
areas open and conserves the climbing environment, Robinson testified for the Outdoor Alliance, a
coalition of hiking, climbing, paddling, mountain biking, and backcountry skiing groups that work to ensure
the conservation and stewardship of our nation’s land and waters through the promotion of sustainable,
human-powered recreation on our nation’s public lands and waters.
The Access Fund’s testimony highlighted priorities for funding public land access and conservation for our
national parks, forests, and bureau of land management areas. Robinson underscored that the Outdoor
Alliance groups have extensive experience working with federal land managers across the country
concerning recreation and conservation policies.
The Access Fund and Outdoor Alliance testimony also provided funding recommendations for National
Park Service recreation management, US Forest Service roads and trails maintenance, the Bureau of
Land Management’s National Landscape Conservation System, the Land and Water Conservation Fund,
and Wild and Scenic River protection, among other things.
About the Access Fund
Celebrating its 20th anniversary, the Access Fund is the national advocacy organization that keeps
climbing areas open and conserves the climbing environment. The Access Fund supports and represents
over 2.3 million climbers nationwide in all forms of climbing: rock climbing, ice climbing, mountaineering,
and bouldering. Five core programs support the mission on national and local levels: climbing
management policy, stewardship and conservation, local support and mobilization, land acquisition and
protection, and education. For more information visit www.accessfund.org.