America’s Outdoor Recreation Act (AORA) was reintroduced today in the 118th Congress with strong bipartisan support, and the Outdoor Recreation Roundtable and its members across the $862 billion outdoor recreation economy urge swift approval of this bill so that many more Americans can enjoy outdoor spaces and their associated benefits to health and wellness. This groundbreaking legislation not only boosts local and national economies, it also gives more Americans — especially those in underserved areas — greater access to green spaces and public lands and waters while not costing taxpayers a dime to implement.
“This is a commonsense, no-cost bill that will help equalize and improve access to green spaces and wild outdoor places in every state in the country,” said Chris Perkins, Senior Director of the Outdoor Recreation Roundtable. “We are seeing unprecedented interest in outdoor recreation, but many of the policies supporting outdoor recreation are outdated. This package will make it easier for Americans to access the outdoors and provide agencies with new tools to address long-standing outdoor recreation needs. We need solutions that enhance outdoor recreation opportunities while protecting America’s public lands and waters, and AORA is an historic step to update these policies.”
Outdoor recreation is an $862 billion industry, providing 4.5 million American jobs and boosting economies in communities large and small. And studies have shown that enjoying time outside helps benefit a person’s mental and physical health.
“Thanks to the work of Senator Manchin (D-WV), Senator Barasso (R-WY), and the many other champions of the outdoor industry in Congress, Americans will have the opportunity to reap these benefits for generations to come,” Perkins continued. “ORR encourages swift, bipartisan action to send this bill to the president’s desk.”
America’s Outdoor Recreation Act would:
- enable permit streamlining to ease burdens on outfitters and guides and improve access to outdoor experiences;
- improve access to recreation on public lands and waters;
- ensure access to green spaces in underserved communities;
- update outdoor recreation infrastructure;
- develop, improve, and complete long range trails; and
- invest in rural economic development.
Outdoor Recreation Roundtable Member Quotes:
“Outdated regulations in the outfitter-guide permitting system have made it time consuming, unpredictable, and unnecessarily difficult for guide services and outdoor organizations to provide guided climbing and skiing experiences on public lands,” said Alex Kosseff, Executive Director of the American Mountain Guides Association. “The America’s Outdoor Recreation Act includes provisions that will remove old roadblocks in the permitting system and enable more Americans to experience the joy of rock climbing, mountaineering, and backcountry skiing in forests and parks across the country. The American Mountain Guides Association applauds Senators Manchin and Barrasso for introducing this landmark legislation.”
“By giving outfitters and public land agencies new tools and resources to improve access and the permitting process, we can all focus on what’s really important: building people’s connections with our greatest resource, the shared American landscape. America’s Outdoor Recreation Act bolsters the outdoor recreation economy and opens the doors for outfitters new and old to provide ample and affordable guided opportunities to folks from all walks of life,” said Aaron Bannon, Executive Director, America Outdoors Association.
“American Prairie is glad to see the introduction of America’s Outdoor Recreation Act. Outdoor recreation generates over 4% of Montana’s GDP, second in the nation only to Hawaii. We support the bill’s provisions to fund rural economic development in gateway communities and enhance public access to public land.” – Mike Quist Kautz, Director of Public Access at American Prairie
“The sportfishing industry thanks Chairman Manchin and Ranking Member Barrasso for reintroducing this incredibly important legislation for America’s outdoor recreation community,” said Glenn Hughes, president of the American Sportfishing Association (ASA). “The America’s Outdoor Recreation Act is a comprehensive set of provisions to ensure our public lands are well managed and conserved to benefit the outdoor recreation economy and all those who love the outdoors.”
“The Archery Trade Association is thankful for the many champions in Congress serving to reintroduce and support this important legislation” said Dan Forster, Vice President & Chief Conservation Officer of the Archery Trade Association. “The America’s Outdoor Recreation Act will help ensure that our federal public lands are accessible, well managed, and continue to provide a critically important foundation for outdoor recreation enthusiasts.”
“Outdoor recreation is vitally important to boosting the health of all people, and access to public lands and trails is crucial for the millions of ATV, dirt bike, and side-by-side riders and drivers, said Erik Pritchard, President and CEO of the Motorcycle Industry Council, Recreational Off-Highway Vehicle Association, and Specialty Vehicle Institute of America. “The $50 billion powersports industry applauds Congress for reintroducing America’s Outdoor Recreation Act, which would help create additional opportunities for motorized access to federal recreational lands, improve recreation infrastructure, support local communities, and bolster the nation’s economy. We thank Senators Manchin and Barrasso for championing this legislation and urge swift bipartisan action to pass this act.”
“The National Forest Recreation Association extends its sincere appreciation to Chairman Manchin, Ranking Member Barasso and the other senators who have been champions of the America’s Outdoor Recreation Act,” said Marily Reese, Executive Director of the National Forest Recreation Association. “The AORA recognizes the importance of having and maintaining the infrastructure and facilities needed for quality outdoor recreation experiences to both the health and well-being of the recreating public as well as the rural economies which rely on a robust outdoor recreation economy. NFRA is hopeful Congress can pass the AORA for the benefit of the American public.”
“America’s Outdoor Recreation Act will bolster outdoor recreation access and opportunities for the millions of Americans who continue to discover the benefits of the great outdoors and time spent on our nation’s lands and waters,” said Frank Hugelmeyer, President and CEO of the National Marine Manufacturers Association (NMMA). “We thank Senators Manchin and Barrasso for their bipartisan leadership in re-introducing this critical bill, and are encouraged by the work underway in the U.S. House of Representatives to pass a meaningful recreation package early in the new Congress. The recreational boating and fishing industry urges Congress to swiftly pass this bill in the weeks to come.”
“Recreation in our great natural spaces is invaluable to our physical and mental health and spiritual well-being,” National Wild Turkey Federation Co-CEO Jason Burckhalter said. “Like our members and me, millions venture into national forests, grasslands and public waterways for ethically harvested, organic protein through hunting and fishing. The American Outdoor Recreation Act opens opportunities and provides infrastructure to support these and other recreational users and is vital to ensuring access to people of all walks of life who want to enjoy what nature has to offer.”
“After building significant support for the legislation in the last Congress with lawmakers, outdoor industry leaders, and other stakeholders, we are thrilled to see Senators Manchin and Barrasso reintroduce this historic comprehensive outdoor recreation bill. This package would provide meaningful support for outdoor recreation opportunities across the country at a time when a record number of Americans are getting outdoors and benefitting from the mental and physical health benefits these spaces provide,” said Kent Ebersole, interim executive director of Outdoor Industry Association. “Federal outdoor recreation legislation will have a real impact on the ability of all Americans to spend time outside, while bolstering the outdoor recreation economy and the jobs it provides to communities across the country. We applaud these forward-thinking lawmakers for their leadership and their commitment to improving access to America’s lands and waters.”
“America’s Outdoor Recreation Act will make biking and mountain biking experiences on our public lands more accessible, sustainable, and enjoyable for all. Provisions like SOAR and BOLT will help meet the growing demand for bicycling as a low-cost, zero-emission, tourism-driving activity,” said PeopleForBikes President and CEO Jenn Dice. “This package proves that bike policy brings both sides of the aisle together to grow infrastructure and access. We look forward to working with the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee on advancing this first-of-its-kind bipartisan investment in the future of recreation.”
“At REI, we believe that time outside–recreating with family and friends, or on your own–is fundamental to a life well lived. We applaud Chairman Manchin, Ranking Member Barrasso, and the senators who have been diligently working on these policies for years for coming together to support making the outdoors more accessible for everyone. The America’s Outdoor Recreation Act will both strengthen our public lands and increase opportunities for all people to enjoy time in nature. Through increased resources for expansive outdoor recreation pursuits, including long-trails and urban parks in historically disinvested communities, and permit streamlining, this bill is increasing equitable access to the outdoors in a bipartisan way,” said Taldi Harrison, Head of Government Affairs, REI Co-op
“America’s Outdoor Recreation Act is bipartisan legislation that will help ensure that Americans continue to enjoy the benefits of recreating outdoors for generations to come,” said RVDA President Phil Ingrassia. “The act will improve and modernize recreation infrastructure on public lands to support everyone who enjoys the great outdoors, including the growing number of RV travelers.”
“America’s Outdoor Recreation Act is crucial to the RV industry and the wider outdoor recreation industry. It remains a significant factor in making sustainable improvements to our nation’s campgrounds and improving the experiences of current and future RVers,” said Craig Kirby, President & CEO of the RV Industry Association. “In addition, the Act provides greater access to the health benefits offered by the great outdoors and offers an economic boost to both the local and national economies. We would also like to thank Senator Manchin and Senator Barrasso for their steadfast leadership. Our government affairs team will be continuing to advocate in support of America’s Outdoor Recreation Act, and we call on Congress for its swift passage.”
“Outdoor recreation is enormously important to Americans, and Outdoor Alliance is grateful for Senator Manchin and Senator Barrasso’s reintroduction of America’s Outdoor Recreation Act, which will benefit the millions of Americans who participate in outdoor recreation every year. Outdoor recreation on our public lands and waters is an important part of millions of people’s lives, and there is more we can do to protect and facilitate these experiences. Effectively managing our public lands and waters requires both conservation and sound policy guidance. America’s Outdoor Recreation Act provides improved management for climbing and mountain biking; enhances how agencies manage outdoor recreation; and invests in equity through the Outdoor Recreation Legacy Partnership and by making facilitated access experiences available to more Americans.” – Louis Geltman, Policy Director, Outdoor Alliance
“IMBA is grateful for Senator Manchin and Senator Barrasso’s work to introduce America’s Outdoor Recreation Act, which offers a tremendous opportunity to expand access for mountain biking, for trails, and for recreation in communities across the country. IMBA and our partners will continue working to pass America’s Outdoor Recreation Act, and continue engaging mountain bike advocates to join us.” – David Wiens, Executive Director, International Mountain Bicycling Association
“More than half of America’s climbing areas are on federal land, and we need common-sense and consistent federal policy that supports sustainable recreation and conserves public lands. Access Fund thanks Senators Barrasso and Manchin for spearheading the bipartisan America’s Outdoor Recreation Act. We look forward to continuing our work on the bill that supports climbers, climbing history, gateway communities, and rural economies across the country” – Chris Winter, Executive Director, Access Fund
“As outdoor recreation grows in popularity, we need more tools to get people outside safely and responsibly. The America’s Outdoor Recreation Act will streamline the federal recreational permitting process to enable more people to experience the outdoors through organized group experiences facilitated by outdoor leaders and educators. The Mountaineers is grateful to Senator Manchin and Senator Barrasso for their leadership to help connect more people with their public lands and waters.” – Tom Vogl, CEO, The Mountaineers
“Many of the highest quality river recreation opportunities exist on our shared public lands and we know local communities see huge economic, as well as quality of life benefits related to these important watersheds. We’re excited to see America’s Outdoor Recreation Act reintroduced in Congress because it will create a standardized system for measuring and sharing these benefits across all public lands and will work to improve sustainable, high-quality river running experiences through expanded protections, better infrastructure, and a focus on equitable access.”
AMERICAN CANOE ASSOCIATION
“Access to urban waterways can be challenging. Creating park space in existing urban areas has the potential to provide waterways access for groups of people that might not have any existing options. Increasing access to paddling opportunities is a great thing for paddlers across the country. Establishing a dedicated source of funding for the Outdoor Legacy Partnership Program will help accomplish this goal by expanding park and open space infrastructure in places that are closest to 80% of the American population.”
“SEMA thanks Senators Manchin and Barrasso for reintroducing the America’s Outdoor Recreation Act This bipartisan bill would streamline the process and expenses associated with obtaining special recreation permits, require federal land management agencies to increase opportunities for motorized and non-motorized access on public lands, and direct the BLM and Forest Service to make maps available to the public depicting where vehicles are allowed to recreate,” said Karen Bailey-Chapman, Senior Vice President of Public and Government Affairs, Specialty Equipment Market Association (SEMA).
“America’s Outdoor Recreation Act will make our public lands more accessible to all Americans by modernizing agency rules and processes and enhancing recreation infrastructure across the country. This bipartisan bill reflects the importance of these shared spaces to outdoor recreation,” said Whit Fosburgh, president and CEO, Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership. “Hunters and anglers thank leadership and members of both parties in the Senate Energy & Natural Resources Committee for moving this legislation forward.