Why It Matters: Our nation’s vast network of federal public lands and water provide significant recreational opportunities for America’s sportsmen and women. The America’s Outdoor Recreation Act recognizes the importance of federal public lands for sportsmen and women by seeking to increase public access, streamlining recreational permitting processes, modernizing public land visitation data, and conserving important water systems for anglers and boaters.
- Last week, Congressional Sportsmen’s Caucus (CSC) Co-Chair Sen. Joe Manchin and CSC Member Sen. John Barrasso, who respectively serve as the Chair and Ranking Member of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, reintroduced the America’s Outdoor Recreation Act.
- The America’s Outdoor Recreation Act (AORA) is strongly supported by the Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation (CSF).
- Last Congress, AORA passed the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee under unanimous consent, and CSF is hopeful the Committee will be able to replicate the unanimous vote in the 118th
On Thursday, March 16, the America’s Outdoor Recreation Act was reintroduced in the Senate by Congressional Sportsmen’s Caucus (CSC) Co-Chair Sen. Joe Manchin and CSC Member Sen. John Barrasso. This legislation is strongly supported by the Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation.
The America’s Outdoor Recreation Act includes well over 30 provisions that seek to increase outdoor recreational opportunities, including hunting, fishing, and recreational shooting, by enhancing access, modernizing permitting processes, improving visitation data, and authorizing unique conservation measures.
One provision in particular that CSF is excited to see included is language that requires the U.S. Forest Service and the Bureau of Land Management to ensure that each of their respective districts has at least one public target shooting range. Not only does this provision recognize CSF’s efforts to promote recreational shooting, but it also recognizes the important role played by America’s 32 million recreational target shooters who are the backbone of state wildlife conservation funding.
The America’s Outdoor Recreation Act will also assist federal agencies in efforts to prevent the spread of aquatic invasive species, which pose a serious threat to native aquatic ecosystems and the economy. Once established, aquatic invasive species are difficult, if not impossible, to eradicate, and significant resources must be invested annually in population management. Preventing harmful introductions before they occur is the most effective means to avoid the risk aquatic nuisance species present.
Furthermore, this legislation includes language that will help improve future federal land agency planning decisions and would enhance user planning efforts. Specifically, the Improved Recreation Visitation Data section directs certain federal land management agencies to capture various recreation visitation data. This section also establishes a real-time data pilot program to make available to the public real-time or predictive visitation data for federal lands, helping sportsmen and women with their trip planning efforts.
The Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation thanks CSC Co-Chair Sen. Manchin and CSC Member Sen. Barrasso for their continued leadership of the America’s Outdoor Recreation Act. CSF looks forward to seeing this legislation move quickly through the Energy and Natural Resources Committee.