U.S. House Passes Comprehensive Outdoor Legislation

For Immediate Release                                                                                    

Apr. 9, 2024

Contact: Thomas Plank, 303-720-0111 [email protected]

U.S. House Passes Comprehensive Outdoor Legislation

WASHINGTON, D.C. –  Today the U.S. House of Representatives voted to pass the Expanding Public Lands Outdoor Recreation Experiences (EXPLORE) Act (H.R. 6492), which received applause from Backcountry Hunters & Anglers (BHA) for addressing priority issues.

Led by the House Natural Resources Committee Chairman Bruce Westerman (R-AR) and Ranking Member Raúl Grijalva (D-AZ), the EXPLORE Act was passed by voice vote under suspension of the rules. BHA has supported this legislative package which would provide important benefits for hunters and anglers by modernizing the management of our public lands and waters and establishing greater access.

“By passing the EXPLORE Act, the House of Representatives has demonstrated the overwhelming support across the United States for improving outdoor recreation opportunities. This comprehensive legislation will modernize outdoor recreation management, make our public lands and waters more accessible, and provide significant benefits for hunters and anglers as we pursue our sporting traditions,” said Kaden McArthur, BHA’s Government Relations Manager. “We thank Chairman Westerman and Ranking Member Grijalva for their bipartisan leadership on the EXPLORE Act and encourage the Senate to act swiftly to send this legislation to the President’s desk.”

The EXPLORE Act would make changes to outdoor recreation management that benefit our public lands, waters, and wildlife, in addition to expanding access and opportunity. Provisions supported by hunters and anglers include:

  • Expediting and simplifying permitting for accessing public lands and waters, which would reduce costs, wait times, and red tape by creating a uniform permitting process while also eliminating fees and permits for small groups filming on public lands.
  • Improving outdoor recreation data and infrastructure, including updating vehicle-use maps on public lands within five years, and requiring their continued updates within twenty years.
  • Creating feeless public shooting ranges in each BLM district or national forest, offering more opportunities for individuals to prepare for hunting seasons. In addition to establishing appropriate and accessible facilities for safe shooting, this would help to consolidate recreational shooting taking place on our public lands and resulting litter.
  • Authorizing the donation of hides, horns, and antlers harvested from wildlife management activities within the National Park System to the hunter. This would avoid the waste of wildlife and fully respect harvested animals.
  • Establishing a grant program for the inspection and decontamination of watercraft to avoid the spread of aquatic invasive species, while allowing federal agencies to carry out those activities.

Substantially similar legislation led by the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee Chairman Joe Manchin (D-WV) and Ranking Member John Barrasso (R-WY), the America’s Outdoor Recreation Act (S. 873), was unanimously reported by the committee in May 2023.

Backcountry Hunters & Anglers seeks to ensure North America's outdoor heritage of hunting and fishing in a natural setting, through education and work on behalf of wild public lands, waters, and wildlife.

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