tv Hearing on Public Lands Recreation Areas CSPAN January 10, 2022 11:39pm-1:22am EST
and for seeking to help both the public and business that serve them. i'm especially proud to have partnered with ranking member barrasso on the outdoor recreation act, and i will talk about our bill shortly. but first, i want to acknowledge we will have senator lujan -- [inaudible conversations] >> joining us this morning to be speak about his bill, and i welcome him to the committee when he shows up. let me begin by saying it's been a powerful economic driver, i've seen firsthand jobs that outdoor recreation economy has brought to rural areas in west virginia. the outdoor recreation industry generates 1.8% of my state's gross domestic product and supports over 18,000 jobs. and almost 3% of our work force is now employed in the outdoor recreation sector the having earned $641 million in salaries this last year alone. however, the covid-19 pandemic has particularly impacted the
outdoor recreation industry according to a recent department of commerce report, employment rates generally across the u.s. dropped 5% from 2019-2020, but outdoor recreation employment decreased 17.1%. as we discuss legislation this morning, i believe that we must keep in mind how the ideas in these bills can help grow the $374 billion annual contribution that outdoor recreation makes to the economies in our rural america. now our economy has talked at lengthen about making it -- our committee has talked at length of importance of the outdoor recreation economy. s that is exactly the reason why ranking member barrasso and i introduced the outdoor recreation act. it enjoys sport of dozens of groups including the national shooting sports foundation, local businesses like waterstone outdoors in west virginia and over 20 outdoor recreation associations from the rv industry association to the motorcycle if industry council.
the outdoor recreation act authorizes agencies like the forest service and the department of interior to accept money9 from the outside organizations that want to invest in outdoor recreation infrastructure on federal lands. it also contains proactive measures related to climbing, biking, target shooting on federal land. these are are common sense ways to improve the the public experience. all of the bills before the committee today the seek to address recreation and resource management from different angles. senator -- bill would assist those leading backpack trips, senator hickenlooper's to fun baggers -- fund parks. i'll remind everyone that west virginia was actually home to the first national recreation area designated in 1965. it was the produce -- [inaudible] national recreation area, and it's still widely used. senator cortez masto's bill
would help recreation organizations better serve underresourced and low incomed committees. ranking member barrasso's bill would help the hunting community. the nine bills all have have a common theme, facilitate thing people's ability to enjoy our public lands while supporting jobs and local economies. with that, i want to thank the witnesses for being here today to help us get a better understanding of the bills before us. following this hearing, ranking member barrasso and i along with our colleagues will get to work so that we can report the package out of this committee. with that, i'm going to turn it over to ranking member barrasso for his opening statement. >> well, thanks so much, mr. chairman. today we're discussing a number of bills important to my home state the, other states as well that have an interest in promoting recreational opportunities and access on public lands. these include s-3266, the outdoor recreation act, and i'm delighted to be cosponsoring it with you, mr. chairman.
our bipartisan legislation is going to increase and improve outdoor recreation opportunities all across america. it's going to help modernize public campgrounds, it's going to establish shooting ranges on federal forests, it's the going to insure increased access to america's public lands. the bill will also leveraging private funding, create new opportunities. wyoming is home to some of the most incredible national parks and public lands in the nation. the outdoor recreation act will help americans better enjoy everything that wyoming has to offer. other governor, mark gordon, stated that, quote: if passed, the bill will not only support wyoming's efforts to protect our world class waters and lands, but provide residents and visitors with improved infrastructure and increased recreational opportunities on wyoming's federal lands. so thanks, mr. chairman, for working with me in a bipartisan way to develop and introduce this important piece of legislation. additionally, i'd like to also highlight two other bills i've introduced for today's hearings and that are on the agenda.
the first is s-1616, the federal interior land management act or the f.i.l.m. act. to keep pace we evolving social media and changing technology, this legislation modernizes film permitting on public lands. it gives outdoor enthusiasts the ability to share their adventures without having to deal with burdensome red tape. it simply doesn't make sense to make people jump through a gauntlet of bureaucratic hoops just to film and upload their public landed a ventures. the film act exempts certain digital and audio recording activities from unnecessary fees and arbitrary permitting rules while also insuring the protection of our public lands. i also want to highlight the s.. 2886, the cape and antler act. the non-native mountain don'ts threaten the struggling
native -- they threaten the struggling native bighorn sheep herd. through coordinated efforts with the national park service, volunteers play a major role by removing the non-native goats. current law gives discretion to the park service to donate the meat to obtain thed from these non-native species during these authorized wildlife management activities. the hide, the horn and the. antlers go to waste. cape act recognizes conservation efforts by allowing for the donation of hides and horns to volunteers who help protect our native bighorn teach sheep. again, mr. chairman, i want to thank you for having this important hearing. recreation and tourism is one of the cornerstones of my home site tate's economy. it's also part of what makes bye a premiere travel test nation. the pieces of legislation i've highlighted here today will help insure americans can enjoy more of what wyoming and our nation has to offer. thank you, mr. chairman, for working along with me on these
important bills. >> thank you, senator barrasso. we're going to have some of our senators speak about their bills. right now, senator hadley. >> thank you, mr. chairman. i want to thank both you and ranking member barrasso for holding this hearing. i want to speak just briefly about the soar act. this is really about permit e form. and before i had this job, i used to do this kind of thing for a living. i tock people into the back country for backpacking, for rafting trips, for educational trips, and i could speak from experience how difficult the permitting process is, how burdensome, how byzantine, and usually in the many cases not with a better outcome for the if lands that are yoused in all of this. used in all of this. this legislation really seeks to streamline that process, to make it more user-friendly, to make it more flexibility especially in the case of some of -- in the face of some of the challenges
we have. you know, you can lose a whole season to a wildfire, and often times the old system was just not built to flexibly respond to some of those huge events. so i look forward to discussing it more with my colleagues. i want to thank senator capito who's my primary cosponsor, and all the members on this committee on both sides of the aisle who have cosponsored this legislation. >> thank you, senator. do any other senators want to make a comment on any of their bills? senator cortez the maas toe. >> thank you. i too the want to thank the chairman and the ranking member for holding this legislative hearing today. thank you to all the witnesses for joining, and really the importance of this hearing is underscoring the important access to public lands for all. and that really is the motivation behind my bill and every bill that i'm hearing that's on the agenda today. s. 1269 is the environmental justice and recreation permitting act. it was the actually introduced
by interior secretary holland in last congress, and it requires the secretaries of the department of the interior and the u.s. department of agriculture to produce an interagency report regarding the impacts and challenges that the current recreational permitting process pose on public access to lands for people in low income communities or communities of color or for our tribal and indigenous communities. clearly, we are all here today to make sure we open up our public lands for access to all, and we want to make sure we're tear thing down any barriers for those who might not have an opportunity to enjoy our great outdoors. that's the purpose behind this bill as well, so thank you. >> senator kenning? >> i just want -- senator king? >> i just wanted to add my support to the comments of senator heinrich. it may surprise members of this committee because outdoor recreation, we often think of the west. maine is the third, has the
third highest part of our gdp in outdoor recreation of any statement in our country. acadia national park this year had 4 million visitors from a record of 3.7 several years ago, and it's an incredible part of our economy. unfortunately, during the pandemic we lost 24% of our jobs in outdoor recreation, so i think so important. so i'm a cosponsor of the simplifying outdoor access. also i wanted to commend the outdoor, outdoors for all act, of which i'm also a cosponsor because park resources are not equitably distributed, and there are millions of americans who really don't have access, and that's what that program is about to further encourage a program within the national park service partnerships with local park facilities. so very important hearing, i commend the committee for taking this on. thank you. >> thank you. now we have senator lujan.
for introduction of his bill. >> [inaudible] good morning, everyone. i want to thank the chairman, ranking member, mr. barrassoinging for holding this hearing on a range of important bills including my bipartisan biking on long distance trails act. i also want to thank cosponsors and colleagues that i worked with on this bill, senators kramer, heinrich, as well as chairman chin and ranking member barrasso -- chair manchin. new mexico has extraordinary mountain ranges and scenic views with incredible trails to bike and explore. when i'm back home, i are have always enjoyed getting on my mountain bike to be explore new mexico's beautiful landscapes. ..
i will do segments of it and look forward to get that done. thank you again to the staff into the chair come to the ranking member for the work of this important package. >> thank you senators pic appreciate that. now we will turn to our panel. we have with us today deputy chief christopher french from the forest service, we have mr. mark lambrecht from the department of interior bureau of land management with ms. jessica turner, executive director for the outdoor recreation roundtable and mr. fred ferguson vice president of vista outdoor. now we'll go to mr. french for his opening statement. >> good morning chairman manchin, ranking member o and members of the committee. thanks for the opportunity to provide the perspective of usda on the public land bills that are under consideration. i appreciate congress is work to help us provide more efficient and more effective delivery of approaches to connecting people with their public lands.
delivering high-quality recreation experiences is a key focus of this administration and her leadership and agency. outdoor recreation is a powerful driver of local and national economies by providing jobs and revenue from goods, services and tourism. cities and towns across the country are tapping the business of outdoor recreation for good reason. they recognize outdoor recreation and open spaces are key ingredients to helping communities, high quality of life and the ability to attract sustain businesses and families. recreation is the largest economic output of our national forest system. it is the single greatest driver of connecting the american people to our national forests and grasslands. in fact, recreation, hunting, fishing and wildlife viewing together sustain more jobs than any other activity on or in our national forests and grasslands. like others last year we experienced a record setting and president visitation levels to
our national forest system lands, 168 million visitors with 18 million new visitors in one year change. as agency has driven more resources to address our wildfire crisis our ability to focus on delivering this premier program is that meeting the current public demand. therefore congressional action been helpful in helping us in such of those bills being discussed today. one example i might give of a great success has been the great american outdoors act which is been critical to address are nearly 6 billion and infrastructure deferred maintenance backlog in the last three years with address to if i find recreation sites, 106 water systems, 99 trail bridges and other public facing facilities. our program is huge. we manage more than 25,000 25,00 recreation sites, 14,000 bathrooms, 160,000 miles of hiking trails, 400,000 miles of forest roads, 22 national recreation areas, 122 wild and
scenic rivers, 60% of all the downhill skiing occurs under permit on 122 sites on national forest lands and we sites of national forest lands and we oversee and manage nearly 30,000 special use permits for recreation. businesses that provide the river rafting, horseback riding and other outfitter guide services all of this totals nearly 13.5 billion and domestic product and over 160,000 jobs. to support access to our national forests we believe it's important to identify barriers impacting environmental justice communities and permit holders when trying to enjoy those public lands. we therefore support the intent of s 1269 and like to work with the committee to assure the language is drafted in a way to support successful implementation. additionally we welcome tool such as those proposed in s-3266 the outdoor recreation act that assist us in building back better to undertake more robust recreation planning, partnerships, conservation finance agreements and improve
our infrastructure. we support the overall goals of the bill and we look forward to working with the committee and its sponsors to ensure both goals can be achieved and did not duplicate or adverting to some of our current planning processes. the usda is supportive of identifying and promoting long distance biking opportunities are national forest service and lands such as those identified in s. 3266. we welcome the opportunity to discuss the biking opportunities and trail designation authorities are national forest system lands with committee and the bill sponsor and if desire to work in technical improvements with the bill. as i said we administer over 30,000 recreation special use authorizations for activities that generate nearly $2 billion for their holders. we support the goals and provisions that aim to streamline and approve those processes. as 1229 and s. 1874 address those. we have some concerns about the liability and caused provisions would like to work to amend the
language but overall we support the goals and intent of the bills. s. 1874 also includes provisions to improve veterans access to the outdoors, provide the planning and requirements for national recreation areas, promote volunteerism to enhance recreation access and establish an interagency trail management plan. we are supported generally of these goals and provisions and would like to continue to work with the committee. finally as 1616 direct usda not to require permit or land use for commercial filming if certain conditions are met. there is pending litigation relevant to this issue and used he would like to work with the committee and bill sponsor on this issue once that decision is rendered in the case. that concludes my remarks and i appreciate the time this morning. thank you for. >> thank you. now we'll hear from mr. mark lambrecht. [inaudible] >> turn your -- >> i think i'm there now. chairman manchin and ranking
member barrasso and members of the committee, my name is mark lambert and an assistant director for national conservation lands for the bureau of land management. it's my privilege to be with you this morning to testify on behalf of of s. 3266 the outdoor recreation act, as 1229 the simple point outdoor access for recreation act, s. 1874 the recreation not red tape act, as 1269 ago concerning a bimetal environmental justice and recreation permitting, and s. 3266 the long-distance bike trail development act. the blm supports the overall goals of these bills and looks forward to working with the sponsors and the committee on them further. i'm also pleased to be accompanied today by reginald chapelle acting assistant rector of civic engagement for the national park service who is available to answer any question on s. 1616, the federal interior media act, s. 2258, the parts jobs and equity act, s2886 the
capen antler enhancement act and s2887 the outdoors for all act. increasing public access to the outdoor for all people and offering opportunities to fully enjoy our nation's public lands including for communities that are disproportionately less access to nature is an important priority for secretary haaland. additionally president biden's called action and executive order 14008 tackling the climate crisis at home and abroad support improving access to recreation revitalizing local economies, creating opportunity for underrepresented communities and protecting our national treasures. the blm is one of several land management agencies within the department offering tremendous outdoor recreation opportunities on our nation's shared public lands. blm manage public lands host a remarkable opportunities and they supported more than 73 million recreational visits last year and an increase of
3 million from 2019. i will briefly touch on the bills addressed in my written testimony. s. 3266 proposes to modernize and improve outdoor recreation on federal lands. the blm appreciates the sponsors interest in finding innovative ways to modernize facilities and meet the growing demand for outdoor recreation opportunities. s. 1229 aims to improve the process and reduce the cost of applying for and administering recreation permits and authorizes single joint permits for multijurisdictional trips across federal lands. the department supports efforts to improve the process for recreation permits as we continue to pursue opportunities to facilitate increased recreational access for all americans especially underserved communities. s. 1874 contains substantially similar provisions on recreation permits to those in s. 1229.
additional provisions of s. 1874 address access to public lands for recreation, job opportunities for veterans and federal land management agencies and establishment of the national recreation areas system and a trail management provision. the department strongly supports expanding opportunities for our military families and veterans and we look forward to working with the sponsors on other provisions. s. 1269 requires the department to submit a report to congress on the estimated use of recreation permits by recreation service providers serving environmental justice communities. the department strongly supports the goal of promoting equitable use of public lands are all americans, communities of color, low-income communities, and rural and indigenous communities that have long suffered disproportionate and cumulative harm from air and water pollution and toxic sites. s3264 requires the department identify no less than ten
existing long-distance bike trails and ten areas with potential for future long-distance bike trails. the department supports the goals of establishing additional opportunities for biking on federal lands. in conclusion the blm appreciates the committee's effort to promote recreational use on public lands to appreciate the opportunity to testify today, and i would be happy to answer any questions you may have on the blm related bills. >> thank you. appreciate it. now we have ms. turner. [inaudible] >> ,. >> members of the committee, on behalf of the upper recreation business community about to thank you for the shooting on impact for bills that support outdoor recreation for all americans and the businesses and communities that rely on external outdoor recreation economy. the outdoor recreation roundtable is the nation's leading coalition of outdoor recreation associations now totaling 35 national associations representing over
110,000 american outdoor businesses that cover the full spectrum of recreation activities. prior to the pandemic at the time of unprecedented economic growth we were growing faster than the economy as a whole in every indicator generating $788 billion in economic activity and 5.2 million jobs. this date is a long time coming as recreation is grown in popularity and importance especially over the past few years. not just as an economic driver in all corners of the country but as a mechanism for mental, physical societal health. however even with a record-breaking sales and participation across the activity spectrum there are challenges to consider. how do we manage for more visitors while ensuring the quality of the experience and the health of our public lands and waters? our sector lost billions in revenue due to cancel trips in trouble from domestic and international visitors over the past year. how do we support small businesses in rural communities suffering from these covid-19 losses. how do we ensure that
communities have the assistance they need to support sustainable outdoor recreation while advancing equitable access from the backcountry to the backyard? the passage of the bills being discussed today will drive pragmatic solutions to the forward by updating our policies for 21st century demands. also the bills particular provision will not bind us to excel at what we do best. support healthy people, healthy places, healthy communities in healthy economies. the sore act will streamline the permitting process for guidance and outfitters. these entities have been burden for years by a complex costly and duplicative permitting system that too often doesn't authorize new permits, new activities, keppra changes in fits of behavior on growing impact of climate change, closures due to floods, droughts and wildfire. the recreation not red tape act at tools to the toolbox. it's important provision put
establishing online payments for passes, gauging the private sector in stewardship, strengthening interagency coronation at encouraging land managers that count for recreation and the planet ever. >> after recreation act unlocks private funding for recreation partnership and support gateway communities with nutrition programs and technical assistance to plan for sustainable economies and enhance recreation opportunities to shoulder seasons. importantly the autorotation act improves visitor data collection and utilization by establishing a uniform system for accurate real-time data across all of the agencies. this would allow the public to make informed decisions about the type of experience they want to have. they would note that the park was at capacity before and where else i could go for similar immunity or experience. land managers would have more data to manage resources and direct funding appropriately. as we look at the overcrowding at some sites we must also recognize last year as travel was restricted and residents were encouraged to stay close to more than 100 million people were not within ten minutes of a
park. with more people heading outside kabul equitable access and infrastructure is needed. we appreciate the consideration for outdoor for all acts, the effects of special recreation so everyone can reap the benefits of time spent outside. there has never been a better time to consider a first ever recreation package. combining the critical policy management provisions before us today and others like shred and map plan to truly harness the surgeon outdoor recreation. these updates can help americans get outside in their communities or an iconic lance. while protecting our natural resources and revitalizing not just our economy but also our collective spirit. thank you for holding this important hearing and please consider orr and our many members partners investing these bills through the legislative process. this would truly be a legacy achievement for the committee and the american public. thank you. >> thank you, ms. turner. mr. ferguson. >> good morning, chairman manchin, ranking member barrasso
and members of the committee. my name is fred ferguson and i'm vice president of public affairs and communications for vista outdoor. vista outdoor is a leading manufacturer and designer of outdoor recreation gear. we're headquartered in anoka minnesota and play more than 6000 people across 16 states and puerto rico. we serve our consumers through portfolio 38 iconic brands which include camelback, bell helmets come remington ammunition and accessories, , and bushnell golf among many others. we are a mission driven company founded on the belief that we would bring the world outside can we bring it closer together. in a country that is increasingly divided along political lines, vista outdoor is committed to finding common ground for all outdoor enthusiasts no matter their affiliation or activity of choice. the outdoors is for all americans. this mindset tries action across our entire business from our corporate foundation which recently awarded ten grants to outdoor nonprofits, to our sustainability program which was
recognized by "investor's business daily" as the third best in the consumer goods category just behind nike. we are the largest contributor to conservation to the pittman robertson act. since vista outdoor was created we have probably contributed nearly $500 million under pittman robertson. in camelback who for decades been at the forefront of ending single use plastics and water bottles is leading an effort to expand water refilling stations on federal lands in the hopes of increasing access to hydration while also reducing waste in our lands and waterways. the time to invest in the outdoors is now. millions of people ventured outdoors over the past 20 months. some reconnected with her favorite pastimes such as hunting or biking, while others engaged in recreational activity for the first time including more than 10 million first-time campers. this resurgence has continued in 2021 and it is incumbent upon leaders and a private and public sectors to maintain the momentum
and expanded outdoor infrastructure ecosystem. vista outdoor has been leading by example. we've invested more than $500 million into new businesses, launched our foundation and taking care of our employees by expanding benefits while also establishing an employee assistance fund. the committee's actions shows that congress the series about the outdoors as well. the nine bills under consideration advance, , grand goals that we support including expanded access, greater diversity and better management of our public lands. we support each of the bills under consideration in the interest of time i will highlight just a few. we support the simplifying outdoor access for recreation act, the soar act. guides and outfitters are some the best advocates for public lands as senator heinrich knows. in elevating their role in our recreation system is well timed and well-deserved. one provision with highlighter for committee staff relates to permits for guided bike trips. in our experience the new normal for guided trips include the mix
of traditional and evite uses the we think finally what should reflect this new reality and issue of traditional bikes and e-bike operate under a single permit. we support the outdoors for all act in the codification of the upper recreation legacy partnership program. enactment of this legislation will have the dual effect of bringing more people outdoors while also breaking down barriers and using the outdoors as a forest for change. we support the film actor we need to recruit and activate the next generation of outdoor recreation champions, and the film back will help us to get there. we support the outdoor recreation act and i will discuss to key provisions. first, the gateway provision committee is needed national parks are breaking visitation records of gateway community plan is becoming an essential part of the visitor experience. second, we support the provision to authorize the blm and the forest service in partnership with local stakeholders to build additional recreational shooting ranges on public lands.
recreational shooting and hunting have grown in popularity during the last 20 months. expanding range infrastructure will promote safety, minimize dispersed target shooting and support wildlife conservation funding. target shooting is a leading contributor to the pittman-robertson trust on so this provision is a sound investment in the future of conservation. i get all behalf of vista outdoor and many stakeholders of the $689 billion outdoor recreation economy, thank you for the opportunity to testify and for the committee's focusing getting vista outdoor package signed into law. thank you and i yield back. >> thank all of you. now we will start to question and i will start with all of you on this one. in my opening statement i think i said the commerce department released its analysis of the impacts of outdoor recreation as a whole to the u.s. economy and every state is impacted by it. but several years ago the forest service specifically analyze impacts that its project work at each a national forest has on local economies. the problem, having done this
since 2016 -- haven't done this. that's a problem we don't know where we are so we are five years down the road and have no idea the impact which we think is much more enhanced than what it was. canning of you comment to that and what are your intentions as far as those as mr. french and mr. lambrecht have responsibilities for those areas? >> thank you, chairman. that is, we're on a five-year cycle to redo those. we do this for every single forest. they argued to be revised with the next six months this year. part of this year's work. >> mr. lambrecht? >> mr. chairman, ranking member barrasso speedy you being brand-new you can kick it in the butt and get it done quicker maybe. [laughing] >> sub blm in 2020, due to recreation activity provided an estimated impact of $7.7 billion in economic output and support of 54,000 jobs so that's the latest data that we have
available and it something that we're constantly tracking. appreciate the question. >> thank you. anybody else want to comment on that? hold on. ms. turner? >> yeah, , we definitely appreciate that the agencies have budget restrictions and a lot of especially forest services going to wildfire but we do think there's a better way to have data especially understand the economic impact across all agencies to synchronize using similar models comes up at the same time. i think one of the biggest things is giving up with a new users. climbing is one of those activities that's going. perhaps that's the most recent olympics ever grow even more and right now the visitor model doesn't even account for climbing. >> you all share information or your concerns and have they been receptive or have not been receptive? >> i think slightly receptive but i also think it's hard to in her agent coordination on something like this across all agencies and especially since some models vary so much in the time of your soil be helpful for
congress speedy outdoor record is changing so much you would like to see the agencies change to get this input so we can meet the demands of the people. i think that something? >> thank you. >> introduce yourself. so i'm rational chapel, the acting assistant director of partnerships and civic engagement for the national park service and so that includes rivers, trails, our directories, land and water conservation. >> argue responsible for making them more from? >> yes, sir. i'm happy to have that discussion today. let me tell you about the national park service. we have social science directorate that is engaged in research. we know $41 billion invested spending happening to 90 member continuing to track that for 2020 and the 2021. we also know the recreation economy would generate $21 billion for the for the gdp and 1.2 million jobs. we're continuing to work on that in the national park service to bring those numbers up to date
to our national resources social science directorate. >> mr. french, this is for you. to use good committee help an oversight hearing on outdoor recreation during which we discussed the problem related to the total number of days outfitters and guides can lay trip on federal land to civic we talked about reallocating unused permits come permit days so they were not wasted. deputy chief french as a follow-up to that discussion after that hearing i send you a question for the record and in your response to a question you said the national forest currently has the flexibility to reallocate unused days. i see that my colleague senator heinrich and senator wyden on recreation and not redtape still contain the provisions authorizing the forest service to reallocate unused visitor days. over two years have passed since the hearing. is this still an outstanding issue and we haven't heard back from? >> no, we have that authority. we have a process in place right now where we go through
periodically and do those reviews and reallocate those unused days. but we are working with the committee going forward providing technical assistance to make that speedy what's the time delay, what's the delay? hopefully we are giving you the resources you need. >> nobody is coming to work? >> no. i mean, i think on this particular issue at the end of the day it's just the sheer volume of work and the number of people we have doing it. >> well, people not coming to work. senator barrasso? >> thanks, mr. chairman. mr. ferguson, my bill the cape active support wildlife management activities that can serve important native wildlife and accomplishes this by allowing for the donation of the hide, the horns to the volunteers who help protect our native species, bighorn sheep population live in wyoming. the volunteers who participate, and that's a lot of hours, their own resources to help conserve our bighorn sheep population.
do you agree that allowing the donation of the hide in the horns to the volunteers does help eliminate needless waste and incentivize participation in this conservation effort? >> we do, sir. calling in national park units were hunting is not about is a very effective efficient and humane mechanism to manage certain species of wildlife. we think the cape act as written and as intended is going to continue to promote the principles of culling and ensure that it is carried out in the way that congress intended and the way that we all want culling to move forward. >> ms. turner, and also to mr. ferguson you can chime in at the end. earlier this year i introduce the film back and a lot of input from folks in wyoming and this is to address the permitting scheme that really makes it harder for the public to record and share their experiences on public lands. i think the bill is critical to update the laws and the regulations that keep pace with advancements we have in
technology and social media. do you agree this is going to greatly improve access and enjoyment of public lands. >> yes. one of the things we're finding is the first interaction that many in people especially having with outdoors is through social media and through film and its inspirational for them to go to those places some day or two and activities that will get them to displaces. it's a general theme that were going to hear hopefully throughout the morning which is the need of staff time and resources that it takes to create those unnecessary permits, those could be going to perhaps some of the other things we're talking about today. so creating efficiencies and streamline. >> the things mr. chapple mentioned. mr. ferguson? >> i would echo those comments. we need the next generation of champions and we want them to touch, see and feel of public lands but it's the digital media we can inspire them and give these future champions the motivation and inspiration to take a trip, i think that's a
win-win. >> great. mr. french if i could come on outdoor recreation act has been authorized finance partnerships for recreation projects with the national forest and to help nearby khmers become more popular recreation destinations. these partnerships would leverage private investment, give taxpayers a much bigger bang for their buck. my understanding is the forest service has some early success with partnerships like this. wayne national forest in ohio is one. can you tell a little bit about the gas of the project and how this model could be expanded -- the success? >> you bet. conservation finance is something that we've been working on for the last few years to help us things like watershed restoration, wild land fire risk reduction and recreation infrastructure. we combine the interests of communities, private companies and ourselves to collaboratively invest in creating something earlier than we could do on her own. on the bailey's trail project
which is a want on the way national forest that's more than 80 miles of trail systems for mountain bikes and other users. it's a multiuser type system. we leverage nearly $10 million of investments match with federal dollars to create that program. we never would have been able to do it if that had not happened and it's serving the committee will and attracting increased tourism. >> great. >> if i i could add, as a prie company we have entered into partnership with the national forest foundation in getting funding to grant projects on national forest for wildlife restoration habitat restoration and the like. so i think from our perspective this provision is very attractive in something that we want to learn more about to be part of the solution to all this talk about here today. >> ms. ferguson the other recreation act provides a framework to ensure access to federal lands by increasing opportunity for both motorized and nonmotorized access roads in
our trails but can you elaborate on the importance of ensuring both motorized and nonmotorized access to our federal lands? >> similar to the film act with all the different users of public lands, and millions of users who both end of the public lands over the last 20 much the future champions we hope to activate, there's a lot of ways to enjoy the public lands whether it's mountain biking,, hiking, taking a ride on a united states, side-by-side, four wheeling, their six and 60,000,000 acres of federal land and we all can agree we need to have options and choices for people and how they recreate and have enjoy these lands. >> ms. turner? >> it's important to understand the new consumer. it's not perhaps what at least my parents grew up with where you are climb and that's all you do -- >> you meet people like our age? >> i did what to say. or motorcycles and you have a harley. now you take your motorcycle to the crags to get through l.a. traffic quicker, taking your
kayak on you become taking your fishing pole under boat. the experiential economy known to 7% of all americans want to collect experiences we just need to update our management system acknowledging today i might get a still mobile and tomorrow i might be an skis and we need to have plant managers and policymakers coming together to protect public lands for all activities. >> thanks. thanks, mr. chairman. >> senator heinrich. >> thank you, chairman. this to french, in your you said that recreation on national forest system lands sustains more private sector jobs than any other forest service program and provides the single largest economic stimulus for many local communities adjacent or within national forest lands. i want to ask you to dig in a little deeper in debt and give us a sense of scale. so there are number of economic activities on forest service land. >> we got the timber program, the grazing program. how do these things stack up against each other?
what portion of economic activity that occurs on forest lands today is a result of the outdoor recreation economy? and how does it compare to other sectors? >> it doris other sectors. here's what i'll do is i can give to you senator daschle dwarfs -- the break and we do every year on those financial impact. also get into the early question because at every five years on every single national forest and what they produce. but i by far when you look att as a comparison, the outdoor recreation and associated is the largest single driver and a don't have that percentage in my hand but it dwarfs almost everything else. >> so i'm not surprised by that having worked in the sector myself but what i've always struggled with is the experience
at least that i had and hopefully it is changing, that the forest service, et al. just as the question i guess it does the forest service prioritize outdoor recreation and its economic impacts commensurate with the scale of the contribution to local economies? >> so i'm going to give a straightforward answer on that. yes. i think our intent and our internal prioritization of where we want to be to do that is very different from the resources we have to deliver it. we've done it through a lot of efficiencies but i would say our staffing is -- >> let me ask you this then. do you have the same expectation for cost recovery from those other programs that, look at the grazing program. does the grazing program cover the cost of range land management for the forest service? do you apply the same standard
of cost recovery to those programs you are asking for outdoor recreation which is creating by far the largest amount of economic activity in those communities? >> senator, the answer there is that those fees that we charge for those various other programs, they are bounded by statute and so speedy so the answer would also be no. >> the answer is no. if you look at, but that's not really within the discretion of the agency. >> i understand that but my point is we are not operating on a level playing field. so you are much more because you have the flexibility to do so. you are asking much more about recreation in terms of cost recovery than your any of the other programs. >> in some areas. >> i want to ask ms. turner. talk to me a little bit about reform. why is this so important? why is fixing permitting such a
high priority for companies across the spectrum of this economic specter? [inaudible] >> -- a decade so i appreciate all of your work on this and your teams work. right now guides and outfitters thousands across the country really are sometimes the first entry point for people to get outside. that'll is creating safe expenses, teaching the public at a a get out responsibly, creating memorable experiences also the partners with his agencies on the grand everyday on the lands and waters understand what's happening. permit reform helps streamline the process to eliminate burdens on both the private sector and the public sector. it helps with indemnification and i'm not sure if this is widely known issue but right now you can go to university, state university and study for street and you can get out on the forest legally through permitting and less we give
indemnification. >> because we require indemnification requirements that are prohibited by state law? >> correct. it will create additional capacity. there's more users than ever at their more diverse than younger and a lot of groups want to get out with new affinity groups that just don't have staff dedicated to creating a permit so we need to make it easier for everyone to access those pit and i would say last but not least we had seen this evolving consumer where one day you might be a kayak company in the next he realized you need to stand up paddle boards and go through an entirely new permit process just to stand up paddle boards. that is a very, very i think outdated system and is not keeping up with the businesses that need it, not keeping up with what the agency need to do their jobs as well. >> thank you. [inaudible] >> senator daines. >> chairman manchin, thank you to want to begin by thanking the chairman and the ranking member for holding the student on outdoor recreation, the topic of
high importance for so many montanans including this montanan setting up a today. outdoor reparation is truly a fundamental part of our montana economy. fact recent department, support for outdoor recreation accounts for over 4% of montana's gdp. that's the highest percentage nationally of any state that counts for over 26,000 jobs in montana but outdoor recreation is more than just a massive economic driver in montana. it's also a part of our heritage and our very way of life that we are proud of back home. in fact, 98% of montana's the outdoor recreation is important to the quality of life. i want to talk about the 2% backhoe to said it wasn't bue at 98%. 87% to consider themselves themselves outdoor recreation enthusiasts. however, overly complex and bureaucratic permitting processes can make it more difficult to access our public lands and put a burden on our small businesses in montana. i want to thank senator heinrich
for his leadership on the bipartisan solar act which i'm proud to cosponsor and it aims to streamline the permitting process for outfitters and guides who operated on public land. >> because of montana's checkerboard land ownership patterns like common out west and outfitting the trip will often cross into multiple land agencies, sometimes in just one day. since each federal land agency has a separate permitting process this means our guides and outfitters have to go through multiple departments and permitting processes just for one trip. this is duplicative, it's inefficient, it costs are agencies as well as our outfitters time and resources and can even impact user experience as well as fundamental access. mr. lambrecht and mr. french, how will establishing a one-stop
shop for multijurisdictional permits such as these safe agency resources and time and enhance recreational access? we will start with mr. lambrecht. >> thank you, senator daines. really appreciate the question. i'm sure you talked to a lot of the same outfitters and guides i have, and so i've got a really strong understanding of the challenges that they have as you mentioned with it checkerboard land ownership patterns in western states. the outfitters and have to secure permits from a blm district office or from a forest service ranger district and maybe a state agency all for one day. the same is true of a river guide where say on the gunnerson river you might start in a park service situation and go through blm or bureau of reclamation. so having a one-stop shop permitting opportunity for multijurisdictional trip
certainly makes sense, if we can establish a lead agency and with the sponsor to address certain issues that we might have, different agencies have different processes, for example. some of those things need to be ironed out and we believe we can do it. i think the bureau of land management is ideally situated to facilitate this process because of a new recreation and permitting tracking online reporting system that we have implemented in a pilot process we now have 38 permits that we've issued that allows a permit to apply for and receive and pay for a permit all online automatically and were able to track that as well. >> mr. lambrecht, thank you. that's exactly what we're hearing as also appreciate your efforts there. i want to let mr. french have thought on that as well.
>> i agree and the biggest beneficiary or other permittees themselves, the folks getting service to anything we can do to make it more efficient for them i think is helpful. >> ms. turner from the outdoor industry perspective how with this provision benefit both this an experienced and small businesses in a place like montana? >> i heard from montana guide and outfitters this week outside of cooke city who has this exact issue three different permits for one day trip. so three different costs, three different permits structures costing the government time and the permit the time. what in thing to do a lot of these guys and outfitters that it suffered greatly from closures during covid, then covid mitigation efforts, then severe wildfire flood and drought they need a leg up right now more so than maybe even other segments of our sector and really improving the permitting system is a leg up these visits could really use. >> were part of the fact the app was headquartered in missoula, montana, and for those of you for users sometimes you look at
the map, i spent, i sat in the backcountry this past weekend, it's multicolored because you see the blm ground, the thee grants and private granite so forth. i'm hoping despite this multiple colors there, you can find a streamlined way because at the end of it when you're on a trip like that you want to get through it as efficiently as a come across these various federal agency pieces of bread. so thanks, mr. chairman. >> on behalf of the chairman, senator cortez masto. >> thank you. thank you to the chairman and ranking member for the support hearing. thank you also to the panelists who are here today. let me talk about 1269 which is environmental justice and recreation permitting act i introduced, and very briefly again really it requires the department of aggregate is interagency report regarding the impact and challenges that the current recreational permitting process that we're talking about
poses on access to public lands for argument argumentsr low-income communities and tribal and a digital schemers. i think this bill is a perfect example of how we can work to address and tear down barriers to people accessing along with the permitting challenges that we have and that's why support and a cosponsor of the soar act as well. but to the two agencies let me ask you this. i also understand there are two executive orders that were introduced by this administration and appreciate your support for 1269 and your goal i understand and i support this as well to make it compatible along with those two executive orders. is anything else i need to be aware of, mr. french or mr. lambrecht, with regard to this particular legislation that you have concerns about or you would like to see some correction? >> in terms of the legislation, not that i can speak off offhand other than my written comments. i will say under executive order
we are already seeing things that may be weren't there before any think a report like this would be helpful. as an example. one of the issues we see is we as an agency don't always advertise when you permit opportunities come available and attend to go to the same over and over again. that creates a barrier often for underserved communities and environmental justice communities, business owners who are looking for those things that don't even know they exist. if you look at some of the things being tackled in the other two bills, as we've talked about the permitting requirements are complex and for a new user that can be a barrier itself. and i think we are uncovering teases like that that i think will benefit all users that will be very helpful for a report like this. >> thank you. >> senator cortez masto i appreciate the question. just wanted to convey to you the
bureau of land management a series about incorporating serving environmental justice communities into its mission and many programmed areas. one of the challenges that we see and identified in this legislation is identifying exactly where those environmental justice issues are and i know the environmental protection agency announced this week it's making some motion to try to map those areas that will be helpful information and i think park service is making great progress on another program that would help us identify some of those communities and how we can increase their participation and a programs and better serve them. so we have a three-year deadline within the legislation to report back to congress on progress in this area, expect will be able to accommodate that would like to further discussions with your staff on how we can exactly get you the information that you are
looking for. >> i appreciate that, thank you. so ms. turner in your written testimony you touched on some the economic hardships that obviously the covid-19 pendant continue to pose on small outdoor businesses and the gateway communities that rely on our public lands. in nevada there are many rural towns that service gateway communities. i wonder if you could build on your recommendation for a first of its kind outdoor recreation package that we were talking about and how the bills being discussed today can contribute to our recovery efforts as well? >> thanks for the question. we've had a lot of big packages were recreation legislation is inserted at the last minute, maybe at the end of a session and what we've all come together i think as a committee is to say there's enough there, so many systems that need reform come so many policies that have been updated. we can then enter on space where recreation policy can be partisan, bicameral and we can get it done and have agreement
like we do here today. we need it now more than ever as we're seeing this surge of visitation, we are seeing communities that are not prepared for this and also seen communities that are liking the visitation they usually have so we we're both sides of the coin and the tools the agency become the new tools, updated tools to help support those communities, and i appreciate your bill you introduce as a because i think a lot of the new use groups that are getting out and do businesses that are popping up might not know to go to the forest service district ranger site on page four and look at the bottom on how to create a permit process. i think all of this goes into not just helping business and local communities by making sure everyone has access to these places and if we're going to move into a 21st century economy we should do with evelyn at the table. >> great, thank you. thank you, mr. chairman. [inaudible] >> thank you, chairman. our nation is undergoing a mental health crisis.
i'm as concerned about mental health as i am the covid crisis. this crisis has been exacerbated by shutdowns since i've been in congress five years we have thrown i suppose ten or $20 billion of the problem. we have telemedicine, new drugs come more clinics and an usher we have moved the at all. but as a physician i think getting people to the great outdoors is a better drug than anything i can prescribe. i'm especially concerned about our youth and their mental health crisis. this past week i got to teach my grandsons how to shoot a bb gun and write a a go kart and howo clean offensive. i just saw their eyes get this day, right, and is being in the outdoors, getting them off of these silly things which don't build your brain at all. what i would ask the panel to do is as you look at this legislation what would be the emphasis on youth that you could
build a get youth exposed to? it's too long of an answer to please me could write down a few issues. i want to turn the page to conversation for second. i foisted farmers and ranchers with the original conservationists, fishermen and hunters with the next conservations to the table and a great thing about hunters and fishermen know when is what put our money where our mouth is. the pittman-robertson bill, act, is 11% excise tax from sale of shotgun shells and shotguns and guns and fishing poles. to fishing poles get taxed as well? i can remember. >> at the different type of program the same concept. don't forget archery equipment. >> oh, my gosh, bow hunters. all those things we put our money where our mouth is. the pleasure serving on the wildlife and parks board for five years and sing of that money was used to like you mention gun ranges being more and more appropriate and out there, habitat. vista outdoor has been a huge proponent of using that
pittman-robertson but what are some the great things you've seen done with it? >> to your point about the youth and how do we make is that we wanted to be, i think the challenge for all of us is we are making decisions and creating outdoor ecosystem for the next five, ten, 15, 20 years and so the decisions made today, the policies we are discussing, it's going to make a difference for that generation that's coming up and many ways that's why we're doing it. so of course we just had a huge resurgence of people into the system we want to retain those people but also want them to motivate and inspire their siblings, their kids, other people they come into contact with two, tried out as well. viewing this process through the lands of a decades not just the next couple of months is really, really important. i think for vista outdoor one of the driving principles of our company is when we do well we can do good. during the last two years we've
been able to create a new corporate foundation and we're using our dollars to motivate and activate diverse users of public lands to get kids off screens and into the outdoors. i mentioned the national park, outside the national forest foundation partnership. there's so much we can do to take a business success with that and to give it back so we can inspire and motivate the next generation. >> thank you so much, to talk about shortages for a second went back to a family wedding this weekend and and i had r article in over a year. this is my uncle used to take me hiding hunting and fishing. he said roger, i said oh, boy. i can get any primers. he reload shotgun shows, sort of a semi pro shooter. there's an issue in the family who's the better shot him him or me, my brother, my dad? he's out of primers picky can't get primers. the shotgun shells that i bought last year for $13 $13 a boxw $25 a box. you cannot find five or six
magnums for pheasant load. i can find -- this is walmart a store that has access to everything typically weakened by it by the case and they couldn't find any pheasant load this year. what's causing the shortages? >> there's a couple factors at play. one, it's the new users that it entered the shooting sports. during the last two years there's been 13 billion new first-time participants in the shooting sport. that's a significant number and one of the things we have noticed is those new users are more diverse come for a% of those users are women and people of color, they are more active pics of the past trends of purchasing to stockpile had gone out the door. people are purchasing to consume it using things like hunting really rise in popularity, social distance. people that more free time. the field to table movement is real driven by popular culture like the media or podcast and netflix shows.
there's also been a major change in the market in that for much of the 2020s surge one of the biggest ammunition producers, remington, was on the sidelines. they had gone through bankruptcy and they were not producing in -- >> why? >> they have gone through bankruptcy. they had missed management and other factors that our company acquired that company, that ammunition facility out of bankruptcy and october 2020 and we have been ramping up production at the facility with more than doubled employment. we've done 72,000 hours of worker training. we are standing at the supply chain. and so the equipment is to have sharman not producing toilet paper during the early surges of covid. that's the same analogy. so now that this the systek up and running again, we think we're doing our part to get more supply to meet the demand.
>> wait until dusk when can tell my uncle can have his primers. thank you. yield back. >> ms. turner i want to follow up on something immediately we had a hearing about a month ago on overcrowding and the national parks and you mention that in your testimony. image and some very interesting that we talked about that day that i think should be pursued by the national park service and that is the developer of an app, a kind of ways at the national parks so that a traveler could look and see oh, it's going to be pretty crowded this weekend in yellowstone, maybe i could go to devils tower. could you elaborate on that the? >> some state park systems across the country already starting to use this geospatial heat map tagging that uses google did come smartphone data. we want to be aware of privacy concerns but it's happening during covid, all staying home and went to the grocery store. he put in your grocery store in google and it might save red,, it's really quite a lineup and is unlikely to go to the grocery store. i will go speedy that the
technology that ought to be useful in this situation. >> it's available. the private sector can be helpful in this. what i experienced during the past year and half even with my local state park in maryland was i would get to the park and the parking lot was full, the gate was closed but had a note i could've gone to another state park but it's another hour drive switches need to give visitors the information. i know the american people want to have a great experience and i feel like some of the overcrowding could just be fixed by people understand what they're getting into before they get there. >> i hope our witnesses from the administration will take us back. we don't have anyone here from the park service but i think we've got to use the technology to more equitably distribute this surge in visitation which i think is going to continue for many of the reasons we for today. >> on sir, i'm here from the national park service. >> i'm sorry. >> i can address your concerns very. we are working on apps with the national park service currently and we also this past week were
called by our acting director to actually think they'd with a potential donor that wants to come in and help us, actually create these heat maps and use the geospatial data. we're also working across inter-agency, different types of apps as well. and so i think within the next year you would be pleased to see what we can come up with, but we look forward to working with you and any committee on actually pulling this together along with the outdoor recreation industry. >> thank you. i want to address the second comment to you, not necessarily the subject of the steering, but these bills are very important and i generally support them. we've got a real problem with staffing in the national parks. in 2011, there were 22,000 fte's of the national parks. in 2020, 18,000. in other words, staffing is
going like this, and then i looked up the visitation numbers, his attention has gone from 278 million, the 327 million. staffing is like this, visitation is like this pic you at this together, it's about a 30% gap from where we were in 2011. that's not the subject of authorization here but is the subject of appropriation. do you agree and understand you are subject to the budget or decision of the administration, but we've got to do something about staffing levels or all of this we're talking about we can't serve the public adequately if these parks are understaffed. >> thank you for recognizing that. that is something our staff feels and that our workforce relevancy and inclusion directorate is looking at right now. so we're looking at it from a data standpoint so that we can actually come back to you and other members of the senate to actually prove that we are ready and have that need and match it
with the ability to get more appropriations. >> i'm concerned it's going to reach a point where you will have burn out and it's going to exacerbate itself by people just being overstressed by the number of visitors, not being able to adequately serve them and it could escalate in terms of problem. if are going to invite people to the out-of-doors, we got to be able to meet their needs. otherwise we're like a restaurant that once that wants to double its visitation but not do anything but a step or number of tables. we need to add some tables, that means park space but appreciate your attention to that and i hope you will emphasize within the department that we are prepared to help you but you've got to give us the data to do so. >> yes, sir we'll take that back to the department for sure. >> thank you. thank you, mr. chairman. >> senator hickenlooper. >> yes, thank you, ranking member. what a treat to have you all here.
i did eight years as governor of colorado before i came out to washington, and some of the best times we are dealing with public lands and outdoor recreation and beginning a whole movement around a nonpartisan movement about clean air, clean water and public lands, and i admire so much what each of you are doing. i think back to come we started out in the western part of colorado, we had an old utility property that was badly polluted every put something on it, sporting clay, almost like a golf course. ..
>> other states are slowly building a reputation. governor herbert was the first-- governor herbert of utah was a first office for outdoor recreation and we were proud to be the second. this had a huge impact on our economy. it's remarkable if you look at the states with strong economies, most have strong outdoor recreation industries and try to make sure that we have companies like this outdoors out there. anyway, i want to turn attention to the more urban setting and the issues around access and i realize our access issues with a lot of the public lands and we need better parking lots and new points of entry and i'm with senator padilla that would help present a program that would help provide resources to the state and local governments to invest in new parks and green space
toss expand that access. one out of three americans, that includes 28 million kids don't have access within a half mile to a green space and, you know, if they're denied that opportunity of getting, you know, different type of renewable energy, the energy that people bring back when they've been out exercising or recreaing in a green space. one of the things, i'll start with mr. french and mr. lambrick and mr. chappell. how do we see access, and do you think it's appropriate that we begin pre-vyinged resources and let the federal government and the public lands movement provide more access to urban areas. >> and thank you, senator for the question, and so there's two things i'd say.
one is, you know, our mission is actually much wider than just the management of our national forest and grass lands. so through our state and our private programs we have a number of programs that are focused just on these issues. the people have our urban forestry research program or our grand programs that are dedicated to building green spaces, in urban communities and our science is showing us that, you know, for a number of these communities having those green spaces creates better community wellness, better mental health and so, i think continued investments in those areas are critically important as well as identifying those barriers and lack of access of communities to their public lands. i think you have to look at both of those in conjunction so i'll leave it there. >>. >> thank you, senator hickenlooper. you know, certainly support the goal of your legislation, it's
an important one. you know, as you understand, the states of many more rural than many others, that doesn't mean we don't have students to increase recreational visits from urban areas, i think that's a high priority for us and something that we're keeping track of and such of greater american outdoors act and i know mr. chappell from the spark park service has additional details and even more focused for that purpose, so with your permission i'd like to defer to him. >> sure. >> thank you, mark. thank you for the question, senator. we're supportive, the national parks service is supportive of the bill you're putting forth with senator padilla. and we're through the land and water conservation fund and so we see there's an opportunity
to expand on that through your bill. and what we'd like to do is to work with you with the language of the bill to bring it into alignment with the way that we're with the movement that we call it. and we are finding efficiencies and the way in which the program is operated right now. it's essential to actually have urban populations, underserved populations, people of color to have access to recreation and so that rounds out the opportunity. >> excellent. if i can indulge just for an extra 60 seconds or do you want me off the stage. >> that's up to senator wyden, he's next on the stage. >> and 14,000 cities and towns, those serving underrepresented communities had half the park space and served five times as many people in those parks and
they were not as all the of park spaces so it's really imperative your bills and the evidence of the agencies and this is one of the areas i've seen them double down on it and we've been so appreciative of them as mr. french size, kind of getting outside of their forest service and how do we get to the people and not just bringing the people to the mra ises. so i think we can work together on this and the bill to get more people access. >> so i think we've talked about this in transportation circles, but e-bikes can be an innovative solution getting people point a to point b. we've seen the park service embrace e-bikes into modes of transportation in the park service themselves and i think in diverse communities, i think that an e-bike could be a solution to get people from the population centers to wherever that recreation is. e-bikes can be more cost effective than a car or a large bus. they're carbon neutral and you
know, i think that can be a part of the solution and i will tell you we have an e-bike company now in colorado and it's new this year. >> i was all for e-bikes and i didn't know that. thank you all for your time and service. i'll yield back. >> senator wyden. >> mr. chairman, i want to thank you and mr. barrasso for holding this important hearing. the finance committee, i've been juggling a lot and i've been watching parts of the discussion, it's been terrific. here is my interest here. so many of the rules as relate to rural america and in particular, recreation, have not kept up with the times. i mean, we know recreation now is a major economic engine for rural america and i'm always struck by areas where basically the federal government just has missed the need to modernize systems.
i see a number of my colleagues on the dias today are co-sponsored of authorizing the craft beverage beverage act. huge for breweries in rural america, and we've gotten it. and those rural businesses that are dependent on recreation, and they say that law basically helped me survive the pandemic so i'm so pleased you're interested in working with us on these issues and i know a number of my colleagues have been outlining the important measures. well, this morning, i want to talk about the other big initiative i have in this area and that's with blake moore of utah, it's a bipartisan bill. the recreation, not red tape act. and again, much like the laws involving breweries and rural restaurants, the roles haven't
kept up with the times. what got me interested in the recreation is a hugely important business in my home state was people were telling me they'd get up on the phone in the middle of the night calling agencies and the like, and holding and what not, for what seemed like interminable amounts of time, and couldn't get through the bureaucracy of red tape and get their permits and passes and the like. and so that's what congressman moore and i are seeking to do, is to streamline the rules as relates to permitting. emphasizing recreation, and making sure that people have multiple uses of our public lands, it's a bed rock and i'm looking at my western colleagues on the committee, that's a bed rock principal of public land and we're streamlining the system owe woke we can wring more out of
them and it's like the craft business, nobody got up and said let's now be rotten to those in those businesses. and i see mr. hickenlooper, we don't see anybody in the agencies that want to be rot teb to small businesses. they get up and i have this big rule book and it's written in the dark ages. and senator hickenlooper knows, some of those almost went back to prohibition, not quite that far, but the dark ages. we're dealing with the same in some of the recreation rules and that's what congressman moore and i are trying to do in the recreation, not red tape. and ms. turner, if i might, as
you know, we established these national recreation areas which we think can really be a magnet for helping small recreation oriented businesses and i think you're pretty much in the ballpark with us on that. can you give us your thoughts? >> yeah, thank you for the questions, senator wyden and your work and your team's work on this bill. we agree with you completely that the recreation frame work has not kept up with the experiences and technology. i've heard of stories of permits and passages on the frame work of the industry because there's not tools for the industry and what the n.r.a. portion creates, it's a real tool during the planning process to look for recreation quality, landscapes. rit now, we're sitting around peg in a square hole a lot of times where the agencies need to go out and look for the scenic river qualities, look
for wilderness qualities, what if they see someone hunting and fishing, and backpacking and hiking, what is it called? if we can have the national recreation area looked for throughout the process and highest use of the land and it doesn't exclude others, but it's a priority and the businesses will be motivated by that and as they can speak to, this is an area that's managed for sustainable recreation for years, you're going to get them outfitters and breweries to go along with that and the technology and health care companies that want to live and work and play, and it's more than the recreation economies, sustainable well-planned estimates can create economics beyond our industry. on my time, for you, with respect to the forest service,
what we work very hard to do working with the agencies and the like is to make sure that we didn't affect other multiple uses in existing or future national recreation designations, require the agency to unilaterally go out and do a bunch of different stuff and i would like to have on the record your assessments because they work closely with you and they make that they didn't go out own everyone else and manage a bunch of areas, recreation areas, we want today build on the existing system and strengthen on that system. can you speak quickly to that? >> yes, senator, it works closely with us, addressed our concerns and the way that we read it right now, it would be compatible. >> big thanks, everybody. >> i want you to know some of the work you're doing as just as important as it gets in the rural west, this is not your
grandfather's economy in the rural west and recreation, huge economic engine and wonderful to have you and appreciate the collaboration. >> thank you, senator cantwell. >> thank you, following on my colleague, i couldn't agree moore. i want to thank the chairman and the ranking member for this important hearing, the outdoor economy is very important to the state of washington, over 100,000 people employed in it and generates 5.8 billion in compensation overall. so, very excited about all sorts of land opportunities. i think i'll turn to you, mr. french. do you anticipate public lands will be closed or inaccessible if additional funding is not provided for maintenance or repair? >> if it doesn't -- if it's not commensurate with the backlog that we have which there are a series of critical trails right now, if we're not able to do
the maintenance of, we will a temporarily close them. >> can you give us a list of those? >> we can get to a list, yes. we can provide that. it might take us a little bit of time, but we can do that. >> i think would he all participated in the very landmark piece of legislation and we want to know if it's a fact and we want to know if it's going to get done and isn't going to get done. we, as senator wyden was saying, i'm a big believer for many, many, many communities in my state. you know, i was just on the tram this morning and happened to strike up a covers with a photographer and like yes, i went to olympic and here is what i do. and here is the places, so, you know, this matters to have these trails and facilities open to these communities for all the witnesses, the great american outdoor act addresses nearly half of the public maintenance backlog over the
next five years, in your view what does this mean for overall safety and accessibility? are there recreational opportunities that we need to address because of what our potential trail closures and just go down the-- whoever wants to jump in first? >> yeah, i mean, there's no doubt the maintenance backlog wasn't going to be solved in one single swoop so there's a lot of work to be done. one thing i've talked about a couple of times today is we launched a corporate foundation and one of the grants that we initiated so we could put our dollars to work in supporting that foundation in doing trail development, you know, wildfire mitigation and forests in and around locations where we have businesses. so i think from our perspective, we want to our part to help and be a part of the solution. >> this is big business for us as i just mentioned, so anybody else? >> yeah, i think-- thank you for the-- knowing where the investments are made is helpful for the
private sector so we can plan out. so if we know that a water system and a forest will be repaired and maybe a nearby campground won't make it on that list, there might be private-public options and i worry about the growing backlog with more severe weather as it comes on and hopefully talking about the reauthorization of goa and how we'll make sure to get down the maintenance backlog and making sure when we're repairing the places, we have the funding stream to keep them. >> love the idea of cooperation, and trying to match resources to get us even more. mr. chapple or-- >> yes, thank you for that. at the national park service the restoration fund is working on parks as well as rivers and trails in terms of our maintenance backlog. what is happening is that monies that are in other funding sources are being freed up so that we can then apply
those to things that don't make it onto the maintenance list and so we're able then to actually address the deferred maintenance in other areas, so there's a benefit that's happening from the go of funding that was unintended, but our parks and our rivers and trails are excited about the additional work that we can do to bring things into proper alignment and then working with our partners at the same time to activate those spaces. >> yes, mr. lambrecht. >> i'm glad you asked this questionment the great outdoors act benefits all the agencies and i've seen a recent list of the different projects that have been funded and i know there's planning going on right now for the next round of goa from trails to bathrooms to campgrounds. we've lost entire campgrounds to wildfire so the need is
significant and really look forward to working on those projects going forward and have to say that the recently passed infrastructure legislation is a major help in that regard as well. i'll be happy to provide you a list of the projects that have been addressed through the great american jut doors act. >> that would be great. well, we had our big anniversary and we increased access to the parks, which was great and made it more affordable, but i consider the next 100 years of the investment the great american outdoors act and the investment that we made so let's figure out where we're coming up short or what else we need to do to coordinate. thank you, mr. chairman. >> thank you, senator kelly. >> thank you, mr. chairman and thank you for holding this hearing on enhancing opportunities for out door recreation, and what you introduced with chairmanchin
that would help arizona communities and businesses that depend on our national parks. the bill would direct the national park service to keep roads, overlooks and others open during shoulder seasons. on the south rim of the grand canyon at grand canyon national park our shoulder seasons are typically mid march and late november and for the north rim, it's mid october and mid may and these are the months when park operations wind down or close for the winter, but as any arizonian will tell you, the older season's often considered the best time of the year to visit the grand canyon, it's often when i go down to the bottom. it's spectacular coming down south trail, bright angel trial
-- trail in november. so, would you agree that reopening or extended park arpgss for an extra week or two would have a big impact on jobs and local tax revenue? >> yes, i really appreciate this provision and appreciate you calling it out. i think it will disperse visitation issues that we've been talking about overcrowding having extra weeks that's a great time for people who can accommodate not going in the summer months to the grand canyon and helps the gateway communities to have the income for longer. and the year-round recreation, i tried to go camping in shenandoah on an 80 degree day they're starting to wind down camping. well, it's 80 degrees in october now. >> it could be icy at the top on the south rim, you know, make sure you have some
cramp-ones on for the trail, but late november it's spectacular place to be and it would be -- i think we would continue to see hundreds ever thousands of people-- hundreds of thousands of people come through this that time of year. thank you for that. mr. french, great to see you again today. you'll recall that the last time we spoke was in october when i asked you and the forest service chief, chief moore to travel it arizona and meet with stakeholders. more work needs to be done to get back on track. please extends my thanks for those for that trip, but i heard some positive feedback, thank you for doing that and the release of the funding to priority some of the forest spinning projects on for the museum, fire, flood mitigation
is completely appreciated in those communities. we are going to follow up with you on next steps, but again, new for being so responsive on this issue and i yield back the remainder of my time. >> thank you, we're about ready to wrap this up. quick question for mr. ferguson. the outdoor act would ensure that the shooting ranges are available, for the management district. can you talk about the safety and conservation berths that would stem from this measure? >> absolutely. there's been a huge influx in the shooting sports and giving these new shooters a place to go is really smart policy on a couple of different levels. one is safety. ranger instructors, ranger managers, they respect and prioritize safety in ways that is unrivaled and unmatched. the more we can get new shooters, existing shooters to
shooting rangers where there's supervision and oversight, we're promoting that respect and safety that we all agree is needed. you know, the range, also the more places that you have that are structured, the less likelihood of dispersed shooting just out in the public lands which could lead to ricochets and other dangerous situations. in, you know, the robinson trust fund, which is a conservation fund dedicated to wildlife habitat and enhancements receives 85% of funding through target shooting and the more we do to promote and encourage target shooting, we're going to be supporting that robinson trust fund which goes back to conservation, more than 13 billion directly to wildlife. >> mr. turner, i think about gateways and dubois, and jackson, entrance points where
parks and forests and public lands, to the destinations, according to the national park service, 3.3 million visitors and 600 million dollars in neighboring national parks and lots of money. how critical is the strong economy to our major gateway communities. >> it's critical to the communities, it's economic diversification for sure, it's also a way to attract retirees and other sectors that can provide, you know, tax revenue for gateway communities. when i think of those, we think about the job seekers and people who want to live and work and play in these areas. >> can i ask you about these species. zebra mussels, the outdoor recreation act that would protect from aquatic species between federal land agencies
and non-federal partners and the bill would help state and local partners inspect watercraft in reservoirs administered by the department of interior. so in addition to the environmental benefits is it your view that measures like this could actually improve recreational activities, boating and fishing? >> yes, there's more people who bought boats than ever last year and more boating. and the impacts on the waterway, but not create a burden for people wanting to get on the water and boats are fishing. so it's a win-win for conservation and recreationalists? >> any members have additional questions? >> i don't have additional questions, but wanted mr. chapple to congratulations the new director of national parks services, and convey my
best wishes. >> i will do so. >> thank you, mr. chairman. thank you to all the witnesses, senator hickenlooper anything else? thank you to all the witnesses for joining us for the discussion. members have until the close of business tomorrow submit additional questions for the records. with that the committee stands adjourned. thank you. [inaudible conversations]