There is growing realization that the run and outdoor specialty businesses need to take an even more active role in protecting the land on which we run, and with recently released economic and participation data showing ongoing rapid growth in outdoor recreation, public lands need improvements and additional financial support to help manage those new levels of use.

So the Outdoor Alliance (OA), a non-profit that works on behalf of the human-powered outdoor recreation community to protect public lands and waters, is championing a first-of-its-kind package of legislation in the House in recent weeks that could foster some of those improvements, all while voicing direct public support to legislators in December may help it pass. 

Outdoor Alliance and its partners have been working for years to develop and pass a package of recreation policy to improve outdoor recreation on public lands and waters. In recent weeks, the U.S. Senate and House each have introduced complementary packages of outdoor recreation policy: America's Outdoor Recreation Act (AORA) in the Senate and the Expanding Public Lands Outdoor Recreation Experiences (EXPLORE) Act in the House. 

The public can help move this legislation forward by contacting their representatives in December to support it. Outdoor Alliance has established a quick-action form to help people send personalized letters to their lawmakers.

With a U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) report last month showing outdoor recreation in the U.S. generating $1.1 trillion in economic output (2.2 percent of GDP) and 4.98 million jobs — the largest numbers ever recorded and a more than 18 percent increase from the year prior — these bills take important steps to expand and improve outdoor recreation opportunities, according to OA and its partners, a coalition of nonprofits representing different types of outdoor recreation. 

The highlights include the Biking on Long Distance Trails Act (BOLT) to identify and create more long-distance bike trails, the Protecting America's Rock Climbing Act (PARC) to safeguard Wilderness climbing, the Simplifying Outdoor Access for Recreation Act (SOAR) that will improve recreational permitting for outfitters and guides, and permanent direction for the Outdoor Recreation Legacy Partnership and FICOR. 

“Millions of Americans get outside each year, and the EXPLORE Act will improve management for climbing and mountain biking, enhance how agencies manage outdoor recreation, and invest in parks where they are needed most with the Outdoor Recreation Legacy Partnership,” says Louis Geltman, VP–policy and government relations at the Outdoor Alliance. 

About Outdoor Alliance

Outdoor Alliance is the only organization in the U.S. that unites the voices of outdoor enthusiasts to conserve public lands. A non-profit coalition comprised of 10 national advocacy organizations, Outdoor Alliance’s members include American Whitewater, American Canoe Association, Access Fund, International Mountain Bicycling Association, Winter Wildlands Alliance, the Mountaineers, the American Alpine Club, the Mazamas, the Colorado Mountain Club, and the Surfrider Foundation. By working with its member coalitions and helping mobilize the involvement of individuals to protect public lands and waters, OA helps ensure public lands are managed in a way that embraces the human-powered experience. Outdoor Alliance — conservation powered by outdoor recreation.