America Outdoors Applauds Markup of the EXPLORE Act

KNOXVILLE, January 17, 2024- Today the House Committee on Natural Resources voted to pass the Expanding Public Lands Outdoor Recreation Experiences (EXPLORE) Act out of committee and on to the House floor. The EXPLORE Act incorporates all provisions from America Outdoors’ flagship legislation, the SOAR Act, among many other outdoor recreation initiatives.

America Outdoors Executive Director, Aaron Bannon commented, “Seeing this bill move through the House Natural Resources Committee is a landmark moment and am thrilled to see the bipartisan support. The EXPLORE Act will benefit facilitated recreation providers, public lands agencies, and outdoor recreation enthusiasts alike. It is time to modernize the permitting process to allow outfitters and guides the opportunity to focus on what they do best- facilitating life-changing outdoor experiences.”

America Outdoors thanks Natural Resources Chairman Bruce Westerman (R-Ark.) and Ranking Member Raúl Grijalva (D-Ariz.) for their leadership and support of facilitated recreation opportunities, as well as the 35 additional Republican and Democratic co-sponsors

The EXPLORE Act will:

  • Incentivize existing outfitters to return unused operating days to the managing agency for use by other operators without penalty;

  • Preserve the integrity of existing special recreation permits;

  • Create an avenue for new operators to access and grow their operations;

  • Ensure that operators are not charged excessive fees to operate on federal lands;

  • Establish a multi-jurisdictional permitting authority for activities that travel through more than one agency

  • Ensure that US Forest Service Temporary Permits continue

Support for EXPLORE:

"The EXPLORE Act will be revolutionary for outfitters and the industry. I’d like to thank Congressman Westerman, who has been a steadfast supporter of outdoor recreation in Arkansas and beyond."

   -Austin Albers, Buffalo Outdoor Center, Ponca, Arkansas

“The EXPLORE Act will make a tremendous difference for guides and outfitters, land managers, and all people who love recreating on America's public lands. For the 200 guides and 8,000 guests who lead and join Wildland Trekking trips annually, this crucial legislation will ensure access to our iconic mountains, forests, canyons, deserts and seashores. I want to express our deep appreciation to Congressman Grijalva and Congressman Westerman for championing this important bill so that current and future generations can enjoy America's breathtaking landscapes!”

   -Scott Cundy, Wildland Trekking, based in Flagstaff, Arizona

About America Outdoors: America Outdoors is committed to growing, protecting, and serving outfitter businesses and organizations through advocacy, business resources, and community. AO has been working on behalf of the outdoor industry for over 30 years. For more information, please visit our website

For Government Affairs issues, please email Executive Director, Aaron Bannon:

For general inquiries, please email Marketing & Events Manager, Hilary Wickes:

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