U.S. SENATE – U.S. Senator Martha McSally (R-AZ) introduced legislation yesterday to expand recreational concessions, such as mountain bike rentals, paragliding, horseback riding, camping, and ziplining, in order to enhance visitor experience on certain public lands.
Currently, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) allows a number of third-party commercial concessions to take place on public land. However, federal lands managed by states, local governments, and non-profits through the Recreation and Public Purposes Act (RPPA) are prohibited or severely restricted from allowing these concessions.
“Public lands are meant to be shared by all,” said McSally. “My legislation will increase recreational opportunities and allow people to more fully enjoy and appreciate the beauty of our public lands across the country.”
“Maricopa County is blessed with wide open spaces for our residents and visitors to enjoy year-round,” said Maricopa County Board of Supervisors Chairman Bill Gates. “We are grateful to Senator McSally for introducing this legislation that will allow counties to work with the Bureau of Land Management to create new outdoor recreation opportunities without compromising the integrity of these precious natural resources.”
This bill directs the Department of Interior to establish a pilot program of up to 10 sites to allow third-party concessions on public land governed by the RPPA, which authorizes the sale or lease of public lands for recreational or public purposes to State or local governments, or qualified nonprofit organizations.
Rep. Gosar (R-AZ) introduced companion legislation in the House (H.R.4028).
The RPPA Commercial Recreation Concessions Pilot Program Act has been endorsed by the National Association of Counties, the National Association of County Park and Recreation Officials, the National Association of State Park Directors, and the National Recreation and Park Association.
The text of the bill can be found HERE.