Expanding Public Lands Outdoor Recreation Experiences Act (EXPLORE) was introduced yesterday, Nov. 29, in the U.S. House of Representatives with strong bipartisan support of 23 Congress members.
A press event was also held, where the Outdoor Recreation Roundtable (ORR)’s senior program director, Ambreen Tariq, spoke about the milestone of the package being introduced.
Led by Congressmen Westerman and Grijalva, the package will have a hearing in the House Natural Resources Committee today at 10 a.m. Eastern, where ORR’s President Jessica Wahl-Turner and ORR members will testify, along with professional rock climber Sasha DiGiulian.
“This is a commonsense, no-cost bill that will improve access to green spaces and outdoor places in every state in the country,” said Turner. “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outdoor recreation, but many of the policies supporting outdoor recreation and the industries that make it possible are outdated.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 and Raul Grijalva, 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.”
ORR and its members across the $1.1 trillion outdoor recreation economy said they urge swift passage of this bill so that all Americans can enjoy outdoor recreation and its associated benefits to health and wellness. The groundbreaking legislation not only boosts local and national economies, it also gives more Americans – especially those in underserved areas – greater access to green spaces, public lands and waters, while updating antiquated policies and procedures that support the recreation businesses connecting people to outdoor experiences.
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 five 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.
- Invest in rural economic development.