Bipartisan bill would improve the permitting process for outfitters, educational organizations, and community groups
WASHINGTON - U.S. Senators Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.) and Shelley Moore Capito (R-W. Va.), celebrated the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee’s passage of their bipartisan Simplifying Outdoor Access for Recreation (SOAR) Act, legislation to improve the permitting process for outfitters, educational organizations, and community groups to access public land. The legislation was included in the America’s Outdoor Recreation Act, sponsored by Chairman Joe Manchin (D-W. Va.) and Ranking Member John Barrasso (R-W.Y.)
“I am pleased that the Committee is moving forward with our legislation to make it easier for families, schools, and community groups to get outside and enjoy our public lands,” said Heinrich. “Our public lands are where we go to camp under the stars, chase bugling elk, or fish for trout in a mountain stream. As a former guide myself, I know from experience how paperwork and bureaucracy can get in the way of getting outside. This legislation will streamline that paperwork to help small businesses and outdoor enthusiasts better access and enjoy our public lands and continue to grow economic development through outdoor recreation.”
“Making it easier to explore and enjoy the incredible beauty of our public lands is a key priority, especially right here in West Virginia,” Senator Capito said. “I’m so glad to see the committee pass the SOAR Act, which reduces bureaucratic red tape and makes commonsense changes to current permitting requirements that sometimes discourage outfitters from utilizing our public lands and, in turn, constrain economic development in these areas. These changes to federal public lands regulations would not only help support outdoor recreation, but also benefit the local communities and economies they support.”
The Simplifying Outdoor Access for Recreation Act streamlines and improves the recreational permitting process for federal agencies:
The bill is cosponsored by U.S. Senators Michael Bennet (D-Colo.), James Risch (R-Idaho), Angus King (I-Maine), Susan Collins (R-Maine), Catherine Cortez Masto (D-Nev.), Steven Daines (R-Mont.), Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), Mike Crapo (R-Idaho), Jon Tester (D-Mont.), Mike Rounds (R-S.D.), and Kyrsten Sinema (I-Ariz.).
The Simplifying Outdoor Access for Recreation (SOAR) Act is supported by a wide range of organizations, including the Wilderness Society, American Mountain Guides Association, The Mountaineers, Outdoor Recreation Roundtable, and the Outdoor Industry Association.
Read the full bill text here.