News for Immediate Release
Dec. 7, 2020
Contact: Katie McKalip, 406-240-9262, [email protected]
AVROA will establish a task force to ensure public lands and waters can be a therapeutic treatment for military veterans returning to civilian life
WASHINGTON – The Accelerating Veterans Recovery Outdoors Act, legislation that will identify and recommend policies that promote public lands and waters as health and wellness care for military veterans, was signed by the president on Saturday.
The Accelerating Veterans Recovery Outdoors Act, or AVROA, directs the Department of Veterans Affairs to establish an interagency task force dedicated to utilizing U.S. public lands and waters as a health and wellness treatment for veterans. Championed by Sens. Catherine Cortez Masto (D-NV), Steve Daines (R-MT), Jon Tester (D-MT) and Jerry Moran (R-KS) and Reps. Chris Smith (R-NJ) and Adam Smith (D-WA), AVROA was signed by President Trump as part of the Veterans COMPACT Act (H.R. 8247).
Backcountry Hunters & Anglers, which launched the BHA Armed Forces Initiative earlier this year and has taken an active role in advocating for AVROA’s advancement, commended the bipartisan effort that resulted in the bill’s passage into law.
“From the launch of BHA’s Armed Forces Initiative last summer, the Accelerating Veterans Recovery Outdoors Act has been identified as our No. 1 priority for legislation efforts,” said Morgan Mason, BHA Armed Forces Initiative coordinator. “The passage of AVROA is a major win for all veterans. We commend the congressional leaders who championed the bill and thank the president for signing it into law.
“BHA AFI is ideally positioned for in-depth engagement with the AVROA task force due to our long-term focus on public lands and waters,” continued Mason, who served in the U.S. Army Reserves as an intelligence analyst and deployed to Iraq in 2003. “We’ve served before, and we’re ready for this mission to engage in the process of introducing and deepening the connection between veterans and the nation’s public lands and waters.”
“From sitting around a campfire with BHA Armed Forces in eastern Montana at deer camp and learning about AVROA to seeing it signed into law within a month’s time feels like a victory,” said Jim Vincent, BHA AFI member and U.S. Army veteran. “The nation’s public lands – MY land – deserve the good stewardship of service members as much as service members deserve the land. My drive to help expand the knowledge of what is available to service members all across this nation directly stems from the BHA mission – and it’s why I want to see this organization continue to grow and build for those who need and deserve it.”
BHA’s Armed Forces Initiative targets active duty and veteran service members of all branches in North America, providing an outlet for current or transitioning service members to continue selfless service and enjoy the camaraderie of likeminded individuals while ensuring that they take active roles as public land owners.
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