SOAR Act Introduced in Congress
Tuesday, June 4, 2019
Posted by: Mickaela Hilleren
Bill would simplify permitting processes for outdoor guides and outfitters.
Americans’ ability to participate in outdoor recreation on our public lands and waters took a major step forward this week with the introduction of the Simplifying Outdoor Access for Recreation (SOAR) Act by Senators Martin Heinrich (D, NM) and Shelley Moore Capito (R, WV). This crucial piece of legislation will make world-class and close-to-home outdoor experiences more accessible by updating the permitting system that guides and outfitters need to operate trips on our treasured lands and waters.
The SOAR Act is bipartisan legislation that improves outfitter and guide permitting systems by simplifying processes, increasing flexibility in allowed activities, reducing fees and much more. All of these provisions – supported by members of the outdoor industry and conservation community – will positively impact a wide range of organizations that deliver facilitated recreation experiences, including for-profit and non-profit guides and outfitters, university recreation programs and volunteer-based clubs.
“Whether you are biking or kayaking, fishing, hunting, ATVing or riding, guides and outfitters play a key role in how Americans access the outdoors,” said Jessica Wahl, Executive Director of the Outdoor Recreation Roundtable. “The antiquated process that these businesses, nonprofits, and education institutions have to go through to get people outside needs to be reformed so outdoor recreation can continue to be a healthy, safe and sustainable use of our public lands and waters and a significant economic driver that makes up 2.2 percent of the U.S. GDP and supports over 4.5 million jobs in communities across the country.”
“Guides and outfitters provide a key touchpoint for Americans to access boating and fishing opportunities across the country,” explains Matt Gruhn. “By reforming our processes to access permits and operate trips on our nation’s waterways, the SOAR Act provides the opportunity to introduce more Americans to the boating lifestyle and gives them the ability to enjoy boating and fishing, both of which are critical economic drivers.”