Part of what we do at Winter Wildlands Alliance is keep track of legislation in Congress that affects winter, public lands, and winter recreation on public lands. Of course, not every bill introduced into the House or Senate becomes law – it’s usually a long process with several checks and balances and changes. Your voice can help ensure a bill makes it through the process, so contact your representatives in Congress and let them know what you think. Prefer to call? You can reach the Congressional switchboard at 202-224-3121. From there you can ask to be connected to any of your 3 representatives in their DC offices by sharing your zip code.
Bills We Support
S.3422: Great American Outdoors Act. Following a surprise Presidential Tweet on March 3 asking for a bill that permanently and fully funds the Land and Water Conservation Fund and addresses infrastructure backlogs in National Parks, Congress scrambled to draft a new bill to address these outdoor recreation priorities. This new bill combines S. 1081, the Land and Water Conservation Fund Permanent Funding Act and S. 500, the Restore Our Parks Act, which addresses deferred maintenance for the National Park Service. And, thanks to a lot of work from our partners at Outdoor Alliance, American Whitewater, and Outdoor Recreation Roundtable, the bill also includes an additional $600 million per year for addressing the maintenance backlog on National Forests, BLM lands, the Fish and Wildlife Service lands, and within the Bureau of Indian Education. Read more and send a letter to Congress here!
H.R. 2546: Protecting America’s Wilderness Act. This extensive lands package bill would permanently protect public lands, waters and outdoor recreation opportunities in Colorado, California, and Washington by designating approximately 1.3 million acres of wilderness and incorporating more than 1,000 river miles into the National Wild and Scenic Rivers System (NWSRS). The Protecting America’s Wilderness Act would dramatically improve recreational access for all Americans while protecting vital sources of clean drinking water and enhancing community resiliency to the impacts of the climate crisis. This bill was passed on the House Floor on February 12, 2020, by a vote of 231 to 183. Stay tuned for introduction of companion legislation in the Senate.
Title I includes the text of the Colorado Wilderness Act (H.R. 2546 – Rep. DeGette, D-CO) which would designate approximately 600,000 acres of public land as Wilderness, including an addition to the Maroon Bells Wilderness, to protect unique natural resources and primitive recreation opportunities throughout the state.
Title III includes the text of the Central Coast Heritage Protection Act (H.R. 2199 – Rep. Carbajal, D-CA) which would designate approximately 287,500 acres of public lands within the Los Padres National Forest and Carrizo Plain National Monument as Wilderness and protect 230.8 river miles as components of the NWSRS. (See also S.1111.)
Title IV includes the text of the San Gabriel Mountains Foothills and Rivers Protection Act (H.R. 2215 – Rep. Chu, D-CA) which would establish a 51,000-acre National Recreation Area along the foothills and San Gabriel River corridor and Puente Hills near Los Angeles, expand the San Gabriels National Monument by nearly 110,000 acres, establish an 8,417-acre Condor Peak Wilderness and a 6,774 acre Yerba Buena Wilderness, and expand the San Gabriel Wilderness by 2,000 acres and Sheep Mountain by nearly 14,000 acres. (See also S.1109.)
Title V includes the text of the Rim of the Valley Corridor Preservation Act (H.R. 1708 – Rep. Schiff, D-CA) which would expand the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area by approximately 191,000 acres, protecting important natural and cultural resources while expanding access for one of America’s most park-poor cities.
Title VI includes the text of the Wild Olympics Wilderness and Wild and Scenic Rivers Act (H.R. 2642 – Rep. Kilmer, D-WA) which would protect 131,900 acres of Wilderness and 464.5 river miles as Wild and Scenic on the Olympic Peninsula adjacent to Olympic National Park. In addition to its conservation values, the bill protects valued backcountry ski terrain, hundreds of miles of trails, scores of climbing sites, and dozens of whitewater paddling destinations. (See also S.1382.)
H.R. 823/S. 241: Colorado Outdoor Recreation & Economy Act. This bill would protect over 400,000 acres of Wilderness landscapes and recreation opportunities in Colorado. It includes the Continental Divide Wilderness, Recreation and Camp Hale Legacy Act, San Juan Mountain Act, Thompson Divide Withdrawal and Protection Act, and Curecanti National Recreation Area Boundary Establishment Act. H.R. 823 passed the House on 10/31/2019. On to the Senate!
H.R. 763: Energy Innovation and Carbon Dividend Act of 2019. This bill would create a Carbon Dividend Trust Fund for the American people in order to encourage market-driven innovation of clean energy technologies and market efficiencies which will reduce harmful pollution and address climate change. This bill would enact a fee on fossil fuels and require that the money collected from the carbon fee be allocated in equal shares every month to the American people to spend as they see fit. Imported goods will pay a border carbon adjustment, and goods exported from the United States will receive a refund under. A version of this bill was also introduced into the Senate last year, and we expect to see it in the Senate again this year.
H.R. 2491/S.1311: Roadless Area Conservation Act of 2019. The Act would permanently codify the Roadless Rule, which protects 58.5 million acres of National Forest System lands across 39 states from logging and road building.
S. 1262: Oregon Recreation Enhancement Act. This bill would create the Rogue Canyon Recreation Area and the Molalla Recreation Area, expand the Wild Rogue Wilderness Area, and protect pristine rivers in Southwestern Oregon from mining. The bill passed out of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee on 12/12/19.
H.R. 1146: Arctic Cultural and Coastal Plain Protection Act. This bill would repeal the section in the 2018 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act that mandated opening the Coastal Plain of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to oil and gas development. It passed the House on 9/12/19.
H.R. 3195/S. 1081: Land and Water Conservation Fund Permanent Funding Act. Last year Congress permanently re-authorized the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF). This bill is the necessary complement to permanent re-authorization, establishing full ($900 million annually) and permanent funding for the LWCF. The House version (H.R. 3195) passed out of the House Natural Resources committee on 6/19/19 with broad bipartisan support. The Senate version (S. 1081) passed out of the Environment and Natural Resources Committee on 11/19/19 with strong bipartisan support as well.
S. 1665: Simplifying Outdoor Access for Recreation (SOAR) Act. This bill would simplify the public lands outfitter and guide permitting system and enable more people to get outside and enjoy public lands.
H.R. 1225/S.500: Restore Our Parks and Public Lands Act. This bill would repair up to $6.5 billion of public lands infrastructure over five years, including roads, parking lots, trail signage, outhouses and other infrastructure used by winter recreationists on federal public lands. The one improvement we’d like to see to the bill is for the Forest Service and BLM to to be added, as these agencies also suffer from significant maintenance backlogs. The House bill passed through committee on 6/26/19 and the Senate version passed out of committee on 11/19/19.
S. 1458: Outdoors for All Act. This bill proposes to use funding from the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) to fund the creation of public open space in underserved communities with the goal of having outdoor space within 10 miles of all communities.
S.1765: Blackfoot Clearwater Stewardship Act. This bill will protect Montana’s Blackfoot River by permanently protecting its most important tributaries. It will also secure and expand outdoor recreation opportunities in the Blackfoot and Clearwater Valleys, as well as enhance timber production and forest restoration in and around Seeley Lake, MT.
S.1967/H.R.3458: Recreation Not Red Tape helps facilitate and improve access to public lands and waters through commonsense updates to agency missions and land managers’ priorities. Mostly importantly, it will help Congress identify and designate new National Recreation Areas, protecting more places for their recreational values. Both of the relevant House and Senate committees have held hearings on this bill.
H.R. 5598: the Boundary Waters and Wilderness Protection and Pollution Prevention Act would remove the federal sulfide-ore mineral rights underlying the Boundary Waters and Voyageurs National Park from the federal mineral leasing program, permanently protecting these places from sulfide-ore copper mining.
H.Res. 835/S. Res. 372: This resolution is an expression by Congress that the Federal Government should establish a national goal of conserving at least 30% of the land and oceans of the United States by 2030. For more information, check out this Outdoor Alliance blog post!