The new Outdoor Recreational Industry Roundtable has released its second white paper, shared with the Trump transition team outlining the necessary expanded access to public lands and waters in order to grow and diversify outdoor recreation in the U.S.
The Roundtable’s access paper notes: The outdoor recreation industry’s continued growth and contribution to the U.S. economy “is threatened because government officials charged with public lands and waters management have erected unnecessary and unjustifiable barriers to many forms of outdoor recreation, usually without taking the harmful consequences for our economy into account. These officials must acknowledge that diverse forms of land- and water-based recreation are legitimate, and that including them in management plans for public lands and waters is central to fulfilling their organizations' missions.”
Some of the key asks in the access white paper include:
- commit to granting access for diverse recreation activities on all federally-managed public lands and waters. The federal government must give diverse forms of recreation equal consideration with respect to all federal public lands and waters, although with an acknowledgement that not all forms of recreation are possible at all times in every location;
- require any agency that manages public lands and/or waters to publish a detailed economic assessment and justification before any access restriction or prohibition is implemented. The agency should demonstrate that this assessment and justification have been taken into account in the decision-making process leading to the access restriction or prohibition; and
- any closures or access denials must be subject to near-term periodic reviews with notice to the public and an opportunity to comment, with the potential for the management plan to be reopened and reconsidered. Periodic reviews especially must include an opportunity for local stakeholder input so that the front-line communities most affected by access restrictions and prohibitions have a voice in the process. At a minimum, local stakeholders must be allowed to participate in developing a collaborative access scheme.
The Roundtable’s efforts are critical to protecting outdoor recreation, including boating. In the coming weeks, NMMA and its Roundtable partners will continue discussions with the Trump transition team, highlighting numerous priorities outlined in a series of white papers. The white papers will continue to be shared in Currents.