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House Passes Historic EXPLORE Act

Photo credit: Jonathan Young - stock.adobe.com.

On Wednesday, April 9, the U.S. House of Representatives passed the Expanding Public Lands Outdoor Recreation Experiences (EXPLORE) Act.

This critical step demonstrates the powerful momentum Outdoor Recreation Roundtable (ORR) members and industry partners have helped generate in promoting policies that expand access and transform outdoor recreation opportunities. The outdoor recreation economy, recently valued at over $1.1 trillion, continues to build upon the success of the Great American Outdoors Act of 2022 — one of the most significant public lands and waters legislations enacted in our nation’s history.

The EXPLORE Act’s passage through the House represents a historic moment as it is the first-ever outdoor recreation-specific bill package, and it achieves this without cost to taxpayers. The bipartisan legislation is poised to stimulate local and national economies, enhance access for Americans—particularly those in underserved communities—to green spaces, and modernize policies to bolster the recreation businesses that bridge people with nature. The bill complements the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee’s America’s Outdoor Recreation Act (AORA).

Jessica Wahl Turner, president of the Outdoor Recreation Roundtable, commended the House’s action, stating, “The House’s passage of the EXPLORE Act is a pivotal advancement for outdoor recreation and the outdoor recreation industry in the United States. Spearheaded by the collaborative efforts of Chairman Bruce Westerman, Ranking Member Raul Grijalva, and a bipartisan group of their colleagues, this legislation shows our collective commitment to ensure outdoor experiences are accessible to every American now and for future generations. As we celebrate this victory, we look forward to the Senate, led by the champions of AORA — Senators Manchin and Barrasso — quickly taking up the mantle and working towards enacting these crucial measures.”

“This first-of-its-kind comprehensive outdoor recreation package will make sustainable improvements to our nation’s campgrounds and greatly improve the experiences of current and future RVers,” said Craig Kirby, RVIA president and CEO. “The EXPLORE Act is critical to the health and well-being of the $140 billion RV industry, which is the largest contributor to the $1.1 trillion outdoor recreation industry. In addition, the Act provides increased access to the great outdoors and offers an economic boost to both the local and national economies. We would like to thank Chairman Westerman and Ranking Member Grijalva for their steadfast leadership in advancing such a historic piece of legislation. Now is the time for the Senate to take action without delay, so all Americans can safely access and enjoy the great outdoors.”

The EXPLORE Act will:

  • Facilitate permit streamlining, alleviating challenges for outfitters and guides, and enhancing access to outdoor adventures.
  • Expand recreation on public lands and waters.
  • Guarantee green space access in underserved communities.
  • Develop, improve, and complete long-range trails.
  • Boost rural economic development.

For more information on the bill and its progress, click here.

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