U.S. Rep. Bishop sponsors bill to promote outdoor recreation on federal land

Monday , July 31, 2017 - 3:10 PM1 comment

TIM VANDENACK, Standard-Examiner Staff

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Outdoor recreation is big in Utah, and U.S. Rep. Rob Bishop has introduced a measure that aims to make it easier for climbers, campers and others to explore federal land.

The measure also directs revenue generated in ski areas on public land to be used in projects on that same land, according to a summary posted by U.S. Sen. Ron Wyden, who introduced the Senate version of the bill.

“Cumbersome permitting processes and other bureaucratic roadblocks have significantly undermined access to recreational opportunities for lands that should be available for all Americans to enjoy,” Bishop, a Republican from Brigham City, said in a statement.

The Recreation Not Red-Tape Act, introduced last week by Bishop and Wyden, a Democrat from Oregon, aims to counter that. It’s been referred to committees in each body for further consideration.

The proposal generated praise from the Outdoor Alliance and the Outdoor Industry Association. The OIA earlier this year pulled the annual Outdoor Retailer trade show from Salt Lake City in opposition to the push by Utah lawmakers, including Bishop, to rescind Bears Ears National Monument’s federal designation.

The Bishop-Wyden proposal “is a common-sense bipartisan plan for improving outdoor recreation on our public lands and growing the outdoor recreation economy,” said a statement from the two outdoors groups. They called the initiative an effort to “reduce barriers to recreation for today’s outdoor users.”

The proposal would streamline the permitting process for guides and recreation enthusiasts, among other things, according to a press release from Bishop. It would make it easer for outdoors enthusiasts to get permission for trips that cross different agency jurisdictions and calls on federal agencies to promote recreational opportunities in making land management decisions. It would also encourage the designation of additional national recreation areas.

Contact reporter Tim Vandenack at tvandenack@standard.net, follow him on Twitter at @timvandenack or like him on Facebook at Facebook.com/timvandenackreporter.

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