Sarah Braker, senior communications manager
Bureau of Land Management land near Moab, Utah (Image: Martha Roskowski)
The bipartisan Recreation Not Red-Tape (RNR) Act was introduced in both the U.S. House and Senate in late July by Rep. Rob Bishop (R-UT) and Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR). It provides a plan for improving and enhancing recreation opportunities on public lands by creating a unified system of National Recreation Areas to promote and manage activities such as hiking, biking and horseback riding. PeopleForBikes supports the RNR Act because it will help create seamless networks for bike recreation and tourism.
The current approach to managing public lands involves many different agencies, each with its own perspective on recreation. From the Bureau of Land Management to the National Park Service, there is no consistency. By developing new trans-boundary National Recreation Areas, this legislation would help protect appropriate recreational opportunities on public lands.
The RNR bill also streamlines the permitting process for federal and state land. Frequently, bicycle tours and tourists pass from one federal agency’s jurisdiction to another, or from state land to federal land. Currently, each jurisdiction requires its own permit and has its own process. Instead of this outdated system, the RNR Act will ensure that all passes or permits required for outfitters and guides will be available online. Additionally, federal land management agencies will be encouraged to work with states to allow visitors to buy a state and federal pass at one location and in one transaction. As part of the legislation, land management agencies (such as the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and the Forest Service) will adopt a consistent recreation permitting process—this will make it easier for people to ride bikes on public lands.
Biking on National Forest land in Montana (Image: Lander Karath)
Addressing the maintenance backlog on federal lands is critical to preserving these great places for bikes long term. By developing Volunteer Enhancement Initiatives this legislation will promote greater volunteerism in the maintenance of public lands.
PeopleForBikes is actively monitoring this bill and on October 3 we submitted testimony during a bill hearing held by the House Natural Resources Committee. We will keep our members updated on the status of the Recreation Not Red-Tape Act.