DENVER, COLORADO – The Expanding Public Lands Outdoor Recreation Experiences (EXPLORE) Act, recently introduced by Congressman Westerman (R-AR) and Congressman Grijalva (D-AZ), is a significant bipartisan legislative package poised to transform outdoor recreation in the United States.
Serving as a companion to the Senate’s America’s Outdoor Recreation Act (AORA), the EXPLORE Act is a pivotal development for millions of Americans who cherish public lands and waters for their outdoor adventures.
This act, in conjunction with efforts by the Outdoor Alliance and its partners, represents a culmination of years of dedicated work towards enhancing outdoor recreation access.
Here’s what makes this proposal so exciting for our community.
Key Provisions of the EXPLORE Act
Biking on Long Distance Trails Act (BOLT): Aimed at developing sustainable long-distance mountain biking trails, the BOLT Act empowers land management agencies to collaborate with bikers and stakeholders. This collaboration will enhance trails like the Ouachita National Recreation Trail in Arkansas and the Great Divide Mountain Bike Trail, spanning from Canada to Mexico.
Protecting America’s Rock Climbing Act (PARC): With rock climbing’s deep-rooted history in the U.S., the PARC Act addresses recent challenges, particularly the prohibition of fixed anchors in Wilderness areas. It seeks to provide consistent guidance for climbing, especially in Wilderness zones like Yosemite’s El Capitan and Longs Peak in Rocky Mountain National Park. The act reaffirms climbing as a historic and appropriate use of public lands, ensuring sustainable access for climbers.
Simplifying Outdoor Access for Recreation Act (SOAR): A decade-long priority of the Outdoor Alliance, the SOAR Act aims to modernize the recreational permitting process for outfitters and guides, making outdoor experiences more accessible. This act will simplify the dated system, benefiting organizations like The Mountaineers who help people enjoy public lands.
Making FICOR Permanent: The Federal Interagency Council on Outdoor Recreation (FICOR) plays a critical role in coordinating land management and enhancing access to nature and outdoor recreation opportunities. The EXPLORE Act proposes to make this council a permanent fixture.
Making Outdoor Recreation Legacy Partnership Permanent: This provision seeks to permanently establish the Outdoor Recreation Legacy Partnership (ORLP) program, which funds the development of green spaces in urban areas, especially in economically disadvantaged communities lacking outdoor recreation opportunities.
Why It Matters for Hikers, Climbers, and Outdoor Enthusiasts
The EXPLORE Act is a beacon of progress for outdoor enthusiasts. It promises enhanced and sustainable access to cherished natural landscapes, supports the development of outdoor infrastructure, and ensures the preservation of historical outdoor activities like rock climbing.
By modernizing outdated systems and prioritizing the development of accessible green spaces, especially in urban and disadvantaged areas, the act embodies a comprehensive approach to outdoor recreation that aligns with the growing popularity of these activities.
Step Up and Take Action Now
Your support can make a real difference. If you value our public lands and outdoor recreation, contact your representative and urge them to support the EXPLORE Act. Your voice matters in preserving and enhancing the outdoor experiences we all cherish. Let’s work together to ensure that this pivotal legislation gets the attention and backing it deserves.
Contact Your Representative Now and advocate for the future of our public lands and outdoor adventures.