Summer is here and Americans are headed outside — boating, camping, ATVing, hiking, biking, climbing, fishing, RVing, paddling, and more on our public lands. Throughout June, the outdoor recreation industry is celebrating Great Outdoors Month® by reminding everyone just how important outdoor recreation is at the national, state, and local levels. It packs a big economic punch — generating $689 billion and creating over 4.3 million jobs — while bringing health benefits to communities and individuals who get outside, even for a walk in a local park.
The endless benefits outdoor recreation heaps on our nation come with their own challenges. More Americans than ever are getting outside, which is excellent for personal and societal health, but more people on our public lands and waters means we must do a better job at maintaining our outdoor infrastructure, while also protecting our fish and wildlife from the impacts of overcrowding. At the same time, many Americans do not have adequate access to recreation opportunities, preventing them from enjoying its benefits. Congress, federal agencies, nonprofit organizations, and state and local governments must work together to ensure all Americans have access to public lands and waters regardless of their zip code.
Fortunately, these challenges have bipartisan solutions that won’t cost taxpayers a dime. The outdoor recreation industry worked with members of Congress, outdoor businesses, and local and national leaders to introduce an outdoor recreation package that will improve everyone’s outdoor experience and set the industry up for a sustainable future.
Chairman Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) and Ranking Member John Barrasso (R-Wyo.) of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee have introduced the America’s Outdoor Recreation Act of 2022, a first-of-its-kind comprehensive recreation package. The bill passed out of the committee in May and combines several bipartisan and bicameral bills the outdoor recreation industry has long supported — including the Simplifying Outdoor Access for Recreation (SOAR) Act, the Outdoor Recreation Act, Recreation Not Red-Tape Act, and other pragmatic pieces of outdoor recreation legislation.
Read the full article from The Hill here.