5 ways the EXPLORE Act improves outdoor access

A person jumps with joy in a scenic lake

Nickay3111, flickr

The EXPLORE Act addresses barriers to outdoor recreation, ensuring everyone can enjoy the benefits of nature.

UPDATE: April 9, 2024 — The Expanding Public Lands Outdoor Recreation Experiences (EXPLORE) Act passed the U.S. House of Representatives with overwhelming bipartisan support, moving to the U.S. Senate. We urge the Senate to pass the EXPLORE Act swiftly.

In a time where access to nature is more important than ever for positive mental health and well-being, the EXPLORE Act can help ensure that everyone, regardless of background, can enjoy the benefits of the great outdoors. 

The EXPLORE Act (H.R. 6492), or the Expanding Public Lands Outdoor Recreation Experiences Act, is a package of bills that is designed to improve access to outdoor spaces, especially for youth, families, people with disabilities, veterans and those living in nature-deprived neighborhoods.

Here's some of what it includes:

  1. Extension of free park passes

    Extends the popular free park pass program for fourth-grade students and their families, Every Kid Outdoors, ensuring that more young people have the opportunity to experience the wonders of the national parks system.

  2. An outdoors for all

    Makes the Outdoor Recreation Legacy Partnership Program—a program dedicated to improving and building parks where they are needed most—permanent, creating parks, trails and green spaces, especially in communities with historic low investment.

  3. Respect for tribal sovereignty

    Allows Tribal Nations to directly apply to the federal government for federal conservation funding, recognizing and respecting their sovereignty and role in environmental stewardship.

  4. Improving outdoor recreation

    Streamlines and improves the permitting process for outfitters and organized groups so they can spend more time doing what they do best—helping others enjoy and recreate on public lands.

  5. Veterans in parks

    Enhances outdoor recreation opportunities on public lands for veterans and active-duty members by building more accessible trails and campgrounds; providing more fishing, hunting and boating opportunities for those with disabilities; and ensuring veterans and wounded warriors have greater representation in public lands recreation management.

It's time for Congress to pass the EXPLORE Act so that people from all walks of life can fully experience and benefit from the beauty and tranquility of the outdoors.