Editor’s Note: The following column by Recreation Vehicle Dealers Association (RVDA) President Phil Ingrassia details the strides made through various organizations to champion legislation beneficial to outdoor-related industries. The article appears in the latest issue of RV Executive Today.
As spring arrives, outdoor recreation has scored some significant victories in Congress and with the Trump administration so far in 2019.
National Resources Management Act
The Outdoor Recreation Roundtable (ORR) — the nation’s leading coalition of outdoor recreation trade associations which includes RVDA, RVIA, ARVC and other allied outdoor organizations — is a strong supporter of the Natural Resources Management Act, which was passed by Congress and signed by President Trump last month.
This bipartisan legislation not only protects public lands and waters, it also delivers needed reforms that will enhance visitor experiences in the great outdoors. It includes reauthorization of the Land and Water Conservation Fund, the Yellowstone Gateway Protection Act, Every Kid Outdoors Act, 21st Century Conservation Service Corps Act, and much more. This is a major step forward to improving recreation access and infrastructure, including roads and campgrounds on public lands.
Public Access on Bureau of Land Management Property
Also last month, the U.S. Department of the Interior released a Secretarial Order that will help prevent the sale of public lands important to outdoor recreation, while ensuring that public access will be a key consideration in land exchanges.
Secretarial Order 3373, “Evaluating Public Access in BLM Land Disposals and Exchanges,” prioritizes recreation and access when Bureau of Land Management
BLM parcels are being considered for disposal, exchange and acquisition under the Federal Land Policy and Management Act (FLPMA).
What this means is that more public lands with recreation assets will remain public, and new areas will be identified for recreation access.
This is especially important in rural areas, where BLM has vast public lands under its control. Access to these areas is not only important to recreation but also has a major impact on jobs and local economies.
More Work Ahead
There’s more to do on issues like the $18.62 billion combined deferred maintenance and repair backlog of the major federal land management agencies, modernizing infrastructure including camp- grounds, and a host of other issues. ORR is working with Congressional leaders and federal agencies to advance the outdoor recreation agenda, and 2019 is off to a strong start.