The Expanding Public Lands Outdoor Recreation Experiences Act (EXPLORE) was introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives yesterday. This first-ever recreation package debuted with strong bipartisan support of 23 Members of Congress and a press conference on Capitol Hill that featured bill sponsors Congressman Westerman (R-AR) and Congressman Grijalva (D-AZ) as well as ORR Senior Program Director Ambreen Tariq. The entire recreation economy is urging swift passage of this bill so that all Americans can enjoy outdoor recreation and its associated benefits to health, wellness, and economic resiliency.
“This bill prioritizes equitable access – not just physically for youth, veterans, and individuals with disabilities – but also access to information including open public data and electronic passes,” said Ms. Tariq. “It simplifies and makes more transparent how to obtain permits thereby removing additional process barriers so we can get more people outdoors, especially minority communities unfamiliar with the old way of doing things.”
As part of the introduction of the EXPLORE Act, ORR President Jessica Wahl-Turner and members Luis Benitez, Chief Impact Officer at the Trust for Public Land, and Katherine Andrews, Director of the Arkansas Office of Outdoor Recreation, will testify before the House Natural Resources Subcommittee on Federal Lands with professional rock climber Sasha DiGiulian at 10am today in support of the landmark legislation. The House Natural Resources Committee will markup on the bill on December 6th.
“The EXPLORE Act is the culmination of years of hard work by Members of Congress and their staffs, as well as non-government partners from across the outdoor industry, states and conservation community,” said Jessica Wahl-Turner in her testimony. “It is the first-ever recreation package that combines many bipartisan and bicameral bills into a single piece of legislation, lifting all boats in the recreation economy’s rising tide.”