LANDER, May 3, 2022—This morning the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee voted unanimously to pass the Simplifying Outdoor Recreation Act to the Senate floor, incorporated fully into the America’s Outdoor Recreation Act of 2022. The SOAR Act is flagship legislation for the outfitting industry that America Outdoors has been advocating for more than a decade.
America Outdoors Executive Director, Aaron Bannon commented, “I am excited to see this bill move through the ENR committee and have high hopes for swift passage on the Senate floor. We are encouraged to see such a great show of bipartisan support for outfitted outdoor experiences. It is vital that we modernize the permitting process to allow outfitters and guides the opportunity to focus on what they do best- facilitating life-changing outdoor experiences.”
The SOAR Act has seen considerable success in the U.S. House, but this is the first time that it has been approved by the Senate ENR Committee. The committee has not passed recreation legislation of this magnitude since 1963.
Chairman Manchin (D-WV) and Senator Barrasso (R-WY) have cooperated closely to co-sponsor outdoor recreation legislation that will improve the permitting process for outfitters. Senators Heinrich (D-NM) and Capito (R-WV) have been consistent co-sponsors of the SOAR Act. America Outdoors is proud to see broad bipartisan bicameral support for this critical legislation and fully supports the effort.
The SOAR Act contains many provisions to improve the permitting policy for outfitters and for agencies on America’s public lands. As incorporated into America’s Outdoor Recreation Act, the SOAR Act:
Directs agencies to allow the inclusion of substantially similar uses in a permit activity without additional environmental review.
Modifies the Forest Service use review formula to the benefit of outfitters and rewards the surrender of unused days to a use pool when applicable.
Allows operators to follow state law regarding liability agreements and directs agencies to have consistent policies regarding these agreements within two years.
Directs public lands agencies to contemplate additional Categorical Exclusions to streamline the special recreation permitting process. A Categorical Exclusion is the least cumbersome level or environmental review.
Ensures that programmatic environmental reviews or recreational uses are not subject to cost recovery from permitted outfitters.
Additional Supporting Voices:
“Chairman Manchin continues to be a champion for the outdoor recreation industry in West Virginia and across the country. West Virginia outfitters are grateful to see such significant headway made on long-standing challenges permitted operators face.” -Dave Arnold, Co-Founder, Adventures on the Gorge, West Virginia
“The members of the Wyoming Outfitter & Guides Association support and urge passage of America’s Great Outdoor Act. Wyoming’s outdoor recreation industries are a huge part of our state’s economy and WYOGA wholeheartedly supports the act.” -Sy Gilliland, President, Wyoming Outfitters and Guides Association
For Government Affairs inquiries, please email Executive Director, Aaron Bannon: firstname.lastname@example.org.