The US Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources recently held a hearing to “Examine Opportunities to Improve Access, Infrastructure, and Permitting for Outdoor Recreation."
Led by Chairman Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) and Ranking Member Joe Manchin (D-WV), lawmakers interviewed a panel of witnesses to identify particular challenges facing outdoor recreation. Among the many topics discussed were:
- Outfitter / Guide permitting issues
- Competing land designations (motorized vs. non-)
- Transitioning from extractive economies to ones based on outdoor recreation
- Access to Public Lands
- Conservation Funding
- Science driven, adaptive management
You can find the archived video of the hearing webcast here (note: video doesn’t start until min 12)
Thomas O'Keefe of American Whitewater, an AAC partner organization at the Outdoor Alliance, was a key witness in the hearing. O'keefe tactfully drew attention to, among other things, outfitter and guide permitting issues, posing one anecdote that it was easier for a paddling guide to bring clients to Costa Rica than the Mt. Hood National Forest in his own backyard. The AAC submitted testimony to Senate ENR - read it here.
The American Alpine Club would really value hearing your stories and opinions on these subjects. Do you have a story to share about a challenging permitting system? Do you know about infrastructure issues in your local National Park or federal public land that have gone unattended? Are there landlocked federal lands that you would like to climb or ski on but can't due to private lands surrounding the property? Or are there other private land issues that you think states or the federal government should address? Please follow the link below and share your story with us!
Thank you again for your time and for sharing your insight!
AAC, Policy Manager