Barrasso’s Outdoor Recreation Act Moves To Senate Floor

Sen. John Barrasso (bottom right) and Sen. Joe Manchin (left) have sponsored legislation that would provide funding to build new trails and recreation areas on America's public lands.

Leo Wolfson

May 11, 20223 min read

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(Cowboy State Daily Staff)

A measure designed to promote outdoor recreation on America’s public lands co-sposored by U.S. Sen. John Barrasso has been sent to the U.S. Senate floor for consideration.

The American Outdoor Recreation Act, sponsored by Barrasso and U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin (D-West Virginia) was approved by the U.S. Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources earlier this month, moving it to the full Senate for review.

The bill is a bipartisan recreation package that would benefit outdoor activities such as hiking, mountain biking and target shooting by providing funding for new trails and recreation areas.

The bill also contains language designed to make it easier for film production companies to get access to public lands by streamlining the regulatory process involved.

“Our bipartisan legislation is a monumental achievement for all who enjoy our public lands and shared natural resources,” Barrasso said. “It will increase access to the outdoors, streamline and simplify agency processes, and improve America’s recreation infrastructure.”

The federal legislation has the support of the Wyoming Office of Tourism, Wyoming Department of State Parks and Cultural Resources, America Outdoors Association and Wyoming Outfitters & Guides Association.

“America’s Outdoor Recreation Act bolsters the outdoor recreation economy and opens the doors for outfitters new and old to provide ample and affordable guided opportunities to folks from all walks of life,” said Aaron Bannon of Lander, executive director of America Outdoors Association. 

The bill consists of several different funding and regulatory packages, including Barrasso’s Federal Interior Land Media Act and his Cape and Antler Preservation Enhancement Act. Sen. Cynthia Lummis is a co-sponsor of both these bills.

The act would also establish a pilot program that would make real-time visitation data readily available for members of the public seeking to visit recreation sites on federal land, a tool that could be critical for gateway communities like Jackson and Cody.

Gateway communities are a specific target of the legislation as part of the Gateway Community and Recreation Enhancement Act piece of the bill. 

The U.S. Department of the Interior and the U.S. Forest Service are to collaborate with state and local entities to identify needs and economic impacts in gateway communities and provide financial and technical assistance to expand and assist tourist visitation. 

Assistance can include training programs, technical assistance, low-interest business loans, and loan guarantees.  

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Leo Wolfson

Politics and Government Reporter