June 08, 2021

Neguse Outdoor Recreation Bills to Be Considered at Committee Hearing

Congressman Neguse’s SOAR Act, SHRED Act and MAPLand Act will all be considered in the Public Lands Subcommittee which he chairs 

As part of his “Restoring Our Lands and Communities Agenda” Chair Neguse promised to prioritize investments in Colorado’s outdoor recreation economy 

Washington D.C.— Today, Congressman Joe Neguse, Chair of the U.S. Subcommittee on National Parks, Forests and Public Lands will take up several important legislative provisions in his Subcommittee that will support Colorado’s outdoor recreation economy. The package of bills will simplify the permitting process for guides and outfitters, ensure Ski Fees paid by local ski resorts stay in their local communities, and promote digitization of outdoor recreation mapping records. 

Investing in Colorado’s outdoor recreation economy is a core tenant of Congressman Neguse’s “Restoring Our Lands and Communities” Agenda, which he outlined after his election to Chair the Subcommittee. Neguse has also laid out an agenda for preserving Colorado public lands and tackling western wildfires through the 21st Century Civilian Climate Corps, the Colorado Outdoor Recreation and Economy Act, and other legislation.

“In Colorado, access to the outdoors is a part of our way of life. Outdoor guides, outdoor retailers and our local Ski resorts drive our local economies and allow visitors from across the globe to visit the treasured areas Colorado is known for. Businesses throughout our state feed on the beautiful public lands, National Parks and National Forests that Colorado is known for and they rely on proper maintenance, a cohesive permitting process and wildfire coordination to ensure their operations can thrive,” said Congressman Joe Neguse. “We’re thrilled to move this common-sense package of bills through the Public Lands Subcommittee this week to support Colorado’s outdoor recreation economy, invest in our mountain communities and expand access to the outdoors.”

The Simplifying Outdoor Access for Recreation (SOAR) Act would:

  • Simplify the outdoor recreation permitting process for outdoor guides and outfitters, educational organizations, college and university programs and non-profits. 
  • The permitting process used by the agencies to issue outfitter-guide permits is outdated, overly complex, and time intensive. As a result, federal land management agencies are often unable to issue permits for guided outdoor recreation activities – even when the activities are within carrying capacity limits already established for the landscape. The unintended consequence is fewer people get to enjoy outdoor recreation activities, local economies don’t receive the benefit of outdoor recreation visits, and guides have fewer opportunities to grow their careers and businesses.

The Ski Hill Resources for Economic Development (SHRED) Act would: 

  • Keep ski fees local by establishing a Ski Area Fee Retention Account to retain a portion of the fees that a ski area pays to the Forest Service. 
  • Support winter recreation by allocating funds to support Forest Service Ski Area Program and permitting needs, process proposals for improvement projects, train staff, and prepare for wildfires. 
  • Address local recreation needs by making 25 percent of the retained funds available to support a broad set of recreation management and community needs, including special use permit administration, visitor services, trailhead improvements, facility maintenance, and affordable workforce housing. This set-aside would dramatically increase some Forest Service unit’s recreation budgets to meet the growing recreation demand.

Modernizing Access to our Public Land (MAPLand) Act would: 

  • Direct federal land management agencies to digitize and standardize mapping records.
  • This will allow hunters, anglers, and millions of other federal land users to access essential information about public lands as well as help federal land management agencies identify public lands with limited or nonexistent public access points and take proactive steps to open them to the public. 

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