Senate Advances Legislation to Help Military Veterans Access Public Lands and Waters

News for Immediate Release
Nov. 12, 2020
Contact: Katie McKalip, 406-240-9262, [email protected]

The bipartisan Accelerating Veterans Recovery Outdoors Act now heads to the president’s desk

WASHINGTON – Bipartisan legislation that would identify and recommend policies to get military veterans out on public lands and waters, the Accelerating Veterans Recovery Outdoors Act, or AVROA, advanced through the U.S. Senate on Tuesday evening and is headed for the president’s desk for his signature.

Championed by Sens. Catherine Cortez Masto (D-NV) and Steve Daines (R-MT) and Reps. Chris Smith (R-NJ) and Adam Smith (D-WA), AVROA would require the Secretary of Veterans Affairs to establish an interagency task force on the use of public lands to provide health and wellness for veterans through outdoor recreation. These lawmakers led bipartisan efforts and pushed for its inclusion in a larger veterans affairs package, the Veterans COMPACT Act (H.R. 8247). The Veterans COMPACT Act, including AVROA provision, passed the Senate by voice vote.

Backcountry Hunters & Anglers, which worked to build congressional support for AVROA, applauded the bill’s advancement and emphasized the important role of recreation on public lands and waters in the treatment of veterans.

“BHA’s Armed Forces Initiative has spent the last five days in the backcountry with 17 veterans hunting deer and leading campfire discussions at night about the Accelerating Veterans Recovery Outdoors Act,” said Morgan Mason, BHA Armed Forces Initiative coordinator. “As we work our transition from sleeping in snow covered tents back to our lives, we could not have asked for better news. AVROA has passed the Senate and is on its way to the president’s desk. We thank our elected officials in Congress for moving the bill through and are primed to let POTUS know we want this signed into law.

“Utilizing public lands for veterans’ overall well-being is absolutely in our wheelhouse,” continued Mason. “We’re honored to be in the trenches of advancing this legislation and commit to an exhaustive effort to see it through.”

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.

Backcountry Hunters & Anglers is the voice
for our wild public lands, waters and wildlife.

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