Simplifying Outdoor Access for Recreation Act Introduced in Senate

SOAR Act to Improve Outdoor Recreation Industry
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May 23, 2019- Legislation designed to improve access to America’s backcountry was introduced in the U.S. Senate today. Simplifying Outdoor Access for Recreation (SOAR) is sponsored by Senators Heinrich (D-NM) and Capito (R-WV) with an impressive group of bipartisan cosponsors underscoring the need for changing bureaucratic permitting processes. The bill improves and simplifies permitting for outfitters operating under the USDA Forest Service (FS), the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), the Bureau of Reclamation, and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. SOAR authorizes agencies to work together and issue one permit for trips that venture through multiple agency boundaries, including trips authorized under National Park Service commercial use authorizations (CUA).

SOAR is a marriage of two acts from the 115 Congress: The Guides and Outfitters Act (GO Act) and the Public Lands Recreational Opportunities Improvement Act (PLROIA). The two bills were merged to form one collaborative bill to reduce the cost of access for the general public and youth groups who need the experience and skill of professional guides. SOAR makes common sense changes to permitting to provide greater access to public lands in a way that increases recreational opportunities for the public while continuing environmental protections.

Senator Heinrich poses with members of the America Outdoors staff and Government Affairs Task Force.

Senator Heinrich poses with members of the America Outdoors staff and Government Affairs Task Force.

“Our greatest appreciation and thanks go to both Senator Heinrich and Senator Capito for working with members of the outdoor recreation industry on this legislation,” commented America Outdoors Executive Director Julie Kahlfeldt. “This was truly a team effort, and AO is proud to be at the forefront of the coalition supporting this significant bill that will benefit the American public and rural communities.”

SOAR is supported by the America Outdoors Association and other groups including the Coalition for Outdoor Access, American Mountain Guides Association, the Wilderness Society, Outdoor Recreation Roundtable, and the Outdoor Industry Association.

Other associations, nonprofits and outfitters showing support include: 

American Hiking Society

Association of Outdoor Recreation and Education (AORE)

Association for Experiential Education

Colorado River Outfitters Association

Dude Ranchers Association

Grand Canyon River Outfitters Association

Idaho Outfitters and Guides Association

Mazamas

Montana Outfitters and Guides Association

New Mexico Council of Guides and Outfitters

New River Mountain Guides

NOLS

Oregon Outfitters and Guides Association

Outdoor Alliance

Outdoor Industry Association (OIA)

Outdoor Recreation Roundtable

REI

The Mountaineers

Utah Guides and Outfitters Association

West Virginia Professional River Outfitters

Western Spirit Cycling

Wilderness Society

Wyoming Outfitters and Guides Association

YMCA of the USA

To see a full list of supporters for the SOAR bill and to learn how you can get involved, click here.

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About America Outdoors

The America Outdoors Association is a community of outdoor adventure businesses who have joined together to promote and support the outdoor recreation industry through advocacy, education, and collaboration. AO has been working on behalf of the outdoor industry for 30 years.

For more information, please visit our website www.americaoutdoors.org

For Government Affairs issues, please contact Heidi Prior, hprior@americoutdoors.org

For membership and general inquiries, please contact Hilary Wickes, hwickes@americaoutdoors.org

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