Bill promotes outdoors access

U.S. Sen. Ron Wyden promotes the legislation during a March 2015 press event in Medford.
U.S. Sen. Ron Wyden promotes the legislation during a March 2015 press event in Medford.

The Crater Lake National Park Trust supports federal legislation to increase visitors’ outdoor recreation access and boost rural economies.

The legislation, introduced on March 17 by U.S. Sen. Ron Wyden and U.S. Rep. Earl Blumenauer, is called the “Recreation Not Red Tape Act.” The bill includes changes to streamline the permit process for outdoors recreation companies that guide guests in the outdoors.

The Crater Lake National Park Trust backs the recreation promotion act, in part, because it fits with the trust’s goals, said Carolyn S. Hill, executive director of the Crater Lake National Park Trust and CEO of Travel Southern Oregon.

“Crater Lake National Park is the No. 1 most visited attraction in Southern Oregon,” Hill said. “Efforts such as this bill represent the same objectives we hold dear at the Trust. We want to increase access to wilderness areas, especially for young people.”

The Recreation Not Red Tape Act is designed to both speed the permit process for recreation guides and make it easier for visitors to obtain park passes online.

Once signed into law, the Wyden-Blumenauer outdoor recreation bill will make it easier for more Americans to get out and enjoy the outdoors. In addition to simplifying the permit process, the bill will encourage easy access for veterans, service members and youth. It will establish a National Recreation Area System that creates standards for the maintenance of national recreation areas that serve both recreation and conversation.

The legislation also will direct the Army Corps of Engineers, the Bureau of Reclamation and the Federal Regulatory Commission to take recreational opportunities and the recreation economy into consideration when making land and water management decisions.

Visitors to Jackson County alone spent more than $506 million in 2014 with $122 million going to payrolls and another $20 million in taxes, Hill said.

The Recreation Not Red Tape Bill already has the support of more than 50 outdoor industry groups including the National Ski Area Association, American Whitewater and the Outdoor Industry Association.

“Outdoor recreation is a vital component of the travel and tourism sector, which generates $2.1 trillion in economic output and supports 15 million jobs nationally, with $10.3 billion and more than 101,000 jobs in Oregon alone,” said Todd Davidson, CEO of Travel Oregon. “Senator Wyden and Representative Blumenauer have recognized the important role outdoor recreation plays in the nation’s economy and job creation in largely rural areas, and have worked to enhance its impact through the introduction of this bill.”

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