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Tuesday, March 5, 2024
March 5, 2024

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Sen. Cantwell’s Recreation for All bill heads to full Senate

By , Columbian staff writer
Published:

The U.S. Senate is set to review legislation that aims to boost youth involvement in outdoor recreation after the Committee on Energy and Natural Resources approved it Wednesday.

In late April, U.S. Sens. Maria Cantwell, D-Wash., and Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, introduced the Recreation for All Act, a bill that would direct the U.S. Forest Service, Bureau of Land Management, Fish and Wildlife and National Park Service to expand outdoor opportunities on public lands for youth, particularly those who may be underserved.

“Everyone benefits when we make outdoor recreation easier to take part in,” Cantwell said when introducing the bill. “One of the goals of this bill is to get more kids hiking on our trails and discovering the joys of outdoor recreation, which will help ensure that our public lands are cared for and flourish into the future.”

Cantwell and Murkowski, both of whom sit on the Committee on Energy and Natural Resources, reason their proposal is a sound means to increase visitation to natural areas, which will subsequently support local economies.

The legislation also directs the land management agencies to pilot visitor tracking technology to compile data, improve communication related to public area closures, as well as provide annual fiscal reports associated with outdoor recreation.

Recreation for All’s provisions are a just a portion of America’s Outdoor Recreation Act, a package of policy items that similarly focus on improving the country’s public lands to bolster the recreation economy. Under this act, green spaces in underserved communities, trails and overall outdoor infrastructure would receive improvements, and outfitters and guides would face an easement of permitting.

This is the second time the package has been introduced in Congress after facing a failed attempt during its last session.

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This story was made possible by Community Funded Journalism, a project from The Columbian and the Local Media Foundation. Top donors include the Ed and Dollie Lynch Fund, Patricia, David and Jacob Nierenberg, Connie and Lee Kearney, Steve and Jan Oliva, The Cowlitz Tribal Foundation and the Mason E. Nolan Charitable Fund. The Columbian controls all content. For more information, visit columbian.com/cfj.

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Columbian staff writer