A Bill To Improve RVing And Outdoor Recreation On Public Lands Is Reintroduced In Congress

Mar 16, 2023

America’s Outdoor Recreation Act, the first comprehensive outdoor recreation policy package since 1963, was reintroduced in Congress today with strong bipartisan support. The RV Industry Association, along with the Outdoor Recreation Roundtable, urge swift approval of this bill so that many more Americans can enjoy outdoor spaces and improve their health. This groundbreaking bipartisan legislation boosts local and national economies and gives more Americans, especially those in underserved areas, greater access to green spaces and public lands and waters.

Outdoor recreation is a $862 billion industry, providing millions of jobs and boosting economies in communities large and small. Studies have also shown that enjoying time outside helps improve a person's mental and physical health. As outdoor recreation continues to grow in popularity and economic impact, federal land management agencies need updated tools to improve access to America’s public lands and waters. With unprecedented demand for RV camping, it’s become imperative that our nation modernize and expand campgrounds.

The zero-score legislation prioritizes outdoor recreation on federal lands while balancing conservation needs. The Act will also grow rural jobs, increase access to public lands, and ensure all Americans can enjoy the many physical and mental health benefits of an active outdoor lifestyle. Among other vital outdoor recreation friendly provisions, the bill:

  • Establishes proven partnership agreements to sustainably modernize campgrounds on federal lands.
  • Provides gateway community assistance for outdoor recreation businesses that supply accommodations, including campgrounds, through the use of financial and technical assistance programs.
  • Extends the federal land shoulder seasons to spread out demand and create more RV camping opportunities on public lands and within gateway community campgrounds.
  • Brings much-needed broadband/Wi-Fi to front country campgrounds to address safety issues and provide technologies that current and future visitors expect.

“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,” says 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 economy. We would also like to thank Senators Manchin and 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.”

"This is a commonsense, no-cost bill that will help equalize and expand 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 much of the policies supporting outdoor recreation are outdated, making it difficult for more people to get out and have fun. We need modern solutions that improve infrastructure and access while protecting America's public lands and waters, and America’s Outdoor Recreation Act is an historic step to update these policies.”

In the coming weeks the Senate is expected to markup the bill. Several bipartisan bills have been introduced in the House that also focus on outdoor recreation and the House Natural Resources Committee is planning to hold a hearing to discuss those bills and the importance of outdoor recreation later this month. We are encouraged by the bipartisan effort to advance the first comprehensive outdoor recreation policy package in 60 years.

For questions on this bill, contact RV Industry Association Senior Director of Government Affairs Chris Bornemann at cbornemann@rvia.org.