Last week, lawmakers in the House Natural Resources Committee voted unanimously to advance the Expanding Public Lands Outdoor Recreation Experiences (EXPLORE) Act, a bipartisan package of outdoor recreation policy that could serve as a companion to America’s Outdoor Recreation Act (AORA). The EXPLORE Act, like AORA, includes many key bills that Outdoor Alliance and its partners have helped develop and refine alongside lawmakers. Now, there are complementary packages of outdoor recreation policies in Congress: the America’s Outdoor Recreation Act (AORA) in the Senate and the Expanding Public Lands Outdoor Recreation Experiences (EXPLORE) Act in the House.
The Explore Act was introduced in the House of Representatives by Arkansas Congressman Bruce Westerman (R) and Arizona Congressman Raúl Grijalva (D).
“Outdoor recreation is growing, and Outdoor Alliance is thrilled to the House Natural Resources committee vote to advance the EXPLORE Act, a first-of-its-kind package of outdoor recreation policy that would improve and protect outdoor recreation experiences on public lands and waters,” said Louis Geltman, VP of Policy and Government Relations, Outdoor Alliance. “Millions of Americans get outside each year, and the EXPLORE Act will improve management for climbing and mountain biking, enhance how agencies manage outdoor recreation and invest in parks where they are needed most with the Outdoor Recreation Legacy Partnership.”
Some of the bills highlighted in the EXPLORE Act include:
- The Biking on Long Distance Trails Act (BOLT Act) would identify and create more long-distance bike trails
- The Protecting America’s Rock Climbing Act (PARC Act) would safeguard Wilderness climbing
- The Simplifying Outdoor Access for Recreation Act (SOAR Act) would modernize recreational permitting for guides and outfitters
- Codifying the Outdoor Recreation Legacy Partnership, which funds parks and green spaces in neighborhoods that need it most
The EXPLORE Act would also help land managers inventory and protect outdoor recreation on public lands.
There is no denying that outdoor recreation is growing in popularity. According to recently released economic and participation data, there has been a rapid growth in outdoor recreation, and therefore, a need for public land improvements in terms of how recreation is managed and protected to address the increased demand. The EXPLORE Act helps provide a solution for managing this new level of use.
The voice of the outdoor recreation community will matter tremendously in moving this package along. Outdoor Alliance has established a quick-action form to help people send personalized letters to their lawmakers.