May 27, 2021

Sen. Ron Wyden, U.S. Rep. Blake Moore Introduce the Bipartisan Recreation Not Red-Tape Act to Enhance Americans’ Ability to Access and Enjoy Public Lands

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., and U.S. Rep. Blake Moore, R-Utah, today introduced the Recreation Not Red-Tape Act to remove barriers to outdoor recreation, making it easier for Americans to enjoy public lands and boosting rural economies across the country. 

This bipartisan legislation would require the Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management to review their permitting processes for guides and recreation enthusiasts and improve efficiency, encourage military branches to inform servicemembers and veterans of outdoor recreation opportunities, hold agencies accountable for prioritizing outdoor recreation and increase volunteerism to address the maintenance backlog of America's public lands. The RNR Act also includes the Simplifying Outdoor Access for Recreation (SOAR) Act, introduced by Sens. Martin Heinrich, D-N.M, and Shelley Moore Capito, R-W.Va., which would improve outdoor recreation permitting processes. 

“Oregonians' appreciation for the outdoors is hardwired into our DNA, and American families come from all corners of the country to visit and experience the natural wonders of Oregon,” Wyden said. “Access to our treasured public lands should be easy so all families have the opportunity for outdoor recreation. It's good for our health and good for local economies, especially hard hit rural America.” 

“Utah’s vast recreation opportunities play a major role in making the Beehive State a great place to live and visit,” said Moore. “As Americans get out and enjoy all our outdoors have to offer, it is essential that we streamline our permitting processes and give our federal agencies the tools they need to respond to the major surge in outdoor recreation nationwide. I am proud to introduce the Recreation Not Red-Tape Act, which will enhance our ability to access and enjoy our public lands.”

The outdoor industry contributes nearly $900 billion in annual consumer spending and supports 7.6 million American jobs. 

In the House, this bill was also co-sponsored by U.S. Reps. Derek Kilmer, D-Wash., Debbie Dingell, D-Mich., and Don Young, R-Alaska.

The full bill text can be found here.

Outdoor Industry Association Executive Director Lise Aangeenbrug: “Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, Americans embraced the outdoors as a place to spend their time and improve their mental and physical well-being. As a result, the outdoor community is welcoming many new participants including more women, more ethnically diverse groups, and those who live in urban communities. Building on this historic momentum requires a commitment to expanding access to these outdoor spaces for people of all walks of life. This important legislation does just that by reducing bureaucratic hurdles and prioritizing outdoor recreation, as well as ensuring the $778 billion outdoor industry and its 5.2 million workers can continue to be a key part of our nation’s economic recovery.”

Outdoor Recreation Roundtable Executive Director Jessica Wahl: “Outdoor recreation is a major force in the nation’s economy, contributing $788 billion in output and supporting 5.2 million jobs. As our industry grows in popularity and economic impact, federal agencies need updated tools to provide sustainable and improved access to, and infrastructure on, America’s public lands and waters. The Recreation Not Red-Tape Act offers sensible, 21st century proposals for identifying and appropriately managing our unparalleled outdoor recreation assets now and into the future.”

Outdoor Alliance Policy Director Louis Geltman: “The Recreation Not Red-Tape Act makes invaluable contributions toward creating and protecting quality outdoor recreation experiences for everyone. From ensuring that priority landscapes for outdoor recreation are protected, to reducing hurdles for permitting and making land managers accountable for recreation objectives, RNR will help to ensure recreation and conservation are priorities for federal land managers. The outdoor recreation community greatly appreciates the efforts of Sen. Wyden and Rep. Moore to lead this bipartisan charge.”

The Wilderness Society National Director of Recreation Policy Paul Sanford: “The Recreation Not Red-Tape Act will make it easier for Americans to access public lands and will make outdoor recreation a management priority. The Wilderness Society thanks Senator Wyden for introducing this important legislation.”

National Marine Manufacturers Association President Frank Hugelmeyer: “At a time when millions of Americans are seeking the health and wellness benefits provided by activities like boating and fishing, we must seize every opportunity to reasonably and responsibly expand access to outdoor recreation, which is exactly what the Recreation Not Red-Tape Act (RNR) will accomplish. As we head into peak outdoor recreation season, there is no better time for Congress to swiftly pass this measure and deliver the significant economic contributions generated by these activities to the communities that need them the most.”

RV Industry Association Vice President of Government Affairs Jay Landers: “Sixty-five million Americans will go RVing this year and many of their adventures lead them to our public lands and waters. The Recreation Not Red-Tape Act will improve the experiences of these RVers by making recreation a priority on federal lands, improving recreational access, and removing unnecessary barriers so all Americans can enjoy outdoor recreation experiences. Of particular importance to RVers, this bill tasks federal land agencies to develop management plans for extending the recreation season or increasing recreation use in a sustainable manner during the offseason. This provision will help address federal campground overcrowding threatening the growth of the $114 billion RV industry, which drives economic growth in the surrounding local communities and economies.” 

PeopleForBikes Director of Federal Affairs Noa Banayan: “As enjoyment of our public lands and participation in bicycling and outdoor recreation grow, we need federal action to keep up with demand. PeopleForBikes supports the Recreation not Red Tape Act from Senator Wyden and Congressman Moore because it will make it easier to designate National Recreation Areas, expand access to the outdoors and promote local economic development.”

Archery Trade Association President & CEO Matt Kormann: “The ATA applauds Senator Wyden and Congressman Moore for the introduction of this common-sense legislation. Collectively, the innovative changes targeted in this legislation will further enhance the customer experience and accessibility for recreating on our nation’s incredible array of public lands.”

American Horse Council’s (AHC) Recreation, Trails and Land-Use Committee Chair and Michigan Horse Council President Jean Ligon: “The $122 billion horse industry applauds Sen. Wyden’s (D-OR) and Rep. Moore’s (R-UT) re-introduction of the bipartisan ‘Recreation Not Red Tape (RNR) Act,’ an important bill that leverages taxpayer dollars by promoting the role of volunteers in trail maintenance.” 

American Horse Council President Julie Broadway: “According to a 2017 economic impact study, the nation’s recreational riders account for 13 million U.S. households. This will prove to be an invaluable resource to promote stewardship of the nation’s public trails.”

Oregon State University Executive Director Lee Davis: “It’s exciting to see this bipartisan Bill being reintroduced and moving forward. This bill will make simple, modern, and online access to permits and passes a reality, and will help our agencies find ways to prioritize outdoor recreation at both the local and national level. We know without a doubt that growing the outdoor recreation economy means increasing the number of shared experiences in the outdoors for all people, it’s about access and inclusivity. And we know that when people spend time outside learning and growing with others that it improves their mental & physical health, their interest in lifelong learning, and it helps us build a bond of care with our nation’s public lands and waters. Altogether, this bill brings together decades of thinking and work around how we can improve access and get the next generation outside, to spur economic growth in this new and exciting industry, and to help to revitalize our rural economies.”