Expanding Public Lands Outdoor Recreation Experiences Act (EXPLORE) was introduced today in the US House of Representatives with strong bipartisan support of 22 members and a press event where ORR’s Ambreen Tariq spoke about the milestone of this package being introduced. Led by Congressmen Westerman and Grijalva, the package will have a hearing in the House Natural Resources Committee tomorrow where ORR’s President Jessica Turner and ORR members will testify.
Outdoor Recreation Roundtable (ORR) and its members across the $1.1 trillion outdoor recreation economy urge swift passage of this bill so that all Americans can enjoy outdoor recreation and its 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 updating antiquated policies and procedures that support the recreation businesses who connect people to amazing outdoor experiences.
“This is a commonsense, no-cost bill that will improve access to green spaces and outdoor places in every state in the country,” said Jessica Wahl-Turner, President of ORR. “We continue to see growing interest in outdoor recreation, but many of the policies supporting outdoor recreation and the industries that make it possible are outdated. Thanks to bill sponsors Congressmen Bruce Westerman (R-AR) and Raul Grijalva (D-AZ), this legislation will provide federal agencies with new tools they need to address recreation management and help more Americans reap the benefits of time spent outside, all while protecting the precious public lands and waters that make it all possible. This is a much-needed and historic step forward.”
Today’s announcement comes on the heels of new data from the Department of Commerce which shows that in 2022, outdoor recreation accounted for $1.1 trillion in economic impact (2.2% of GDP) and 5 million jobs. From 2021-2022, the outdoor recreation economy grew 2.5% compared to 2.1% for the U.S. economy as a whole.
The EXPLORE 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;
- Develop, improve, and complete long range trails; and
- Invest in rural economic development.
For more information on the bill and its progress through the House, visit https://recreationroundtable.org/priorities/recreation-package/. To see a full list of quotes and supporting organizations, visit https://recreationroundtable.org/explore-act-supporters-and-quotes/.