Press Release

Bipartisan bill will help more to enjoy the outdoors

Bipartisan bill will help more to enjoy the outdoors

WASHINGTON, September 18, 2019 ---- The Wilderness Society and its partners in the Coalition for Outdoor Access will provide testimony September 19 in favor of a bipartisan bill, H.R. 3879, to increase access for guided outdoor recreation. 

The Simplifying Outdoor Access for Recreation Act (SOAR Act) would improve the permitting system for outfitters, guides and others who lead activities on national parks and other public lands in the United States. The lead sponsors of the House bill are Representatives Debra Haaland (D-NM) and John Curtis (R-Utah).  A companion bill in the Senate, S. 1665, also has bipartisan backing.

Statement from Paul Sanford, National Director of Recreation Policy at The Wilderness Society, and Vice Chair of the Coalition for Outdoor Access

“Americans from all walks of life deserve to enjoy our parks and public lands. The SOAR Act is common-sense legislation that will increase recreation opportunities on federal lands by improving the permitting system. The SOAR Act would help a wide range of organizations that provide guided recreation experiences on these lands.

For their leadership on this important effort, the Coalition for Outdoor Access thanks Representatives Haaland and Curtis, and we urge the House Natural Resources Committee to approve the bill as soon as possible.”

In its testimony, the Coalition for Outdoor Access states that “the agencies’ permitting systems need to be improved in order to provide the public with more opportunities for recreation and education experiences on public lands. Providing more outdoor experiences on public lands is good for the people who have those experiences. It is also good for the lands and the agencies that administer them.”

The Wilderness Society, founded in 1935, is the leading conservation organization working to protect wilderness and inspire Americans to care for our wild places. With more than one million members and supporters, The Wilderness Society has led the effort to permanently protect 111 million acres of wilderness and to ensure sound management of our shared national lands.   

The Coalition for Outdoor Access is an alliance of organizations with an interest in the outfitter-guide permitting systems of the federal land management agencies. The Coalition came together in 2014 to improve the operation of these systems for the benefit of the agencies, the recreational landscapes they support, the organizations who provide guided recreational experiences on federal lands and waters, and for the members of the public who use these services. The Coalition is made up of organizations that represent for-profit outfitters and guides, nonprofit outfitters and guides, university recreation programs, volunteer-based clubs, the outdoor industry, and the conservation advocacy community.


Paul Sanford, 202.429.2615,

Michael Reinemer, 202.429.3949,