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NMMA and partners seek wider access to public lands and waters

The Outdoor Recreational Industry Roundtable released its second white paper, shared with the transition team of President-elect Donald Trump.

The Outdoor Recreational Industry Roundtable released its second white paper, shared with the transition team of President-elect Donald Trump, and it outlines the expanded access to public lands and waters the roundtable believes is necessary to grow and diversify outdoor recreation in the United States.

The document calls for more grant access and seeks to require agencies managing public lands or waters to publish a “detailed economic assessment and justification” before restricting access.

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,” the white paper says, according to the National Marine Manufacturers Association.

“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,” it says.

The NMMA said some of the key requests in the white paper on access 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.

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