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Today, the U.S. House of Representatives voted to pass the EXPLORE Act, legislation that will expand access to America's public lands and waters. Included in the package are the SOAR Act, PARC Act, Connect Our Parks Act, and BOLT Act, four pieces of legislation led by Representative John Curtis (R-UT).


"Passage of the EXPLORE Act is a testament to our collective commitment to enhancing and preserving access to America's stunning public lands and waters,” said Rep. Curtis. “This legislation, particularly the inclusion of four of my bills: the SOAR Act, PARC Act, Connect Our Parks Act, and BOLT Act, reflects our dedication to Utah's majestic landscape. I'm proud to have contributed to this significant step forward in ensuring our kids and grandkids will be able to enjoy our state as much as I have.”


“Utah has some of the most abundant and beautiful public lands and resources in America, and Representative Curtis has been faithful advocate for these issues in our work on the EXPLORE Act,” said Chairman Westerman. “Several of his bills make up a core part of the EXPLORE Act, and everyone from rock climbers, long-distance bikers, and anyone who enjoys recreating in his home state of Utah and across the nation will benefit. We are fortunate to have an advocate for the outdoor economy like Representative Curtis here on our committee, and I thank him for his work this Congress to get this bill passed.”


The International Mountain Bicycling Association is thrilled the House of Representatives understands the physical, mental, and economic importance of outdoor recreation on our public lands, evidenced by the passage of the Expanding Public Lands Outdoor Recreation Experiences (EXPLORE) Act. The mountain bike community is specifically excited about the Biking on Long Distance Trails (BOLT) Act that has been included within the text of the underlying bill. The BOLT Act will identify at least 10 existing long-distance bike trails and identify at least 10 areas where there is opportunity to develop or complete such trails. The bill will also direct the Department of Interior to publish and distribute maps, install signage, and distribute promotional materials. We now look to the Senate for quick action this summer to pass the EXPLORE Act and get it to the President’s desk before the August recess. – ­Todd Keller, Director of Government Affairs, International Mountain Bicycling Association.


The Simplifying Outdoor Access for Recreation (SOAR) Act, introduced alongside Rep. Neguse, makes outdoor recreation more accessible to everyone by streamlining the permitting process for outfitters, educational organizations, and community groups. For additional information, please click here.


The Protect America’s Rock Climbing (PARC) Act, introduced alongside Rep. Neguse, ensures responsible access to rock climbing in designated wilderness, an activity dating back to its creation in the Wilderness Act of 1964. This is particularly relevant in the West where over 99% of federally managed lands are located. More information on the bill can be found here, including quotes of support.


The Connect Our Parks Act directs each National Park to assess where broadband service is needed and develop a plan to increase access to internet and cellular service. Increased cellular access inside our Parks is a crucial component of public safety. For additional information, please click here.


The Biking On Long-Distance Trails (BOLT) Act, introduced alongside Rep. Neguse, expands outdoor recreation opportunities by identifying potential long-distance bike trails and expanding mapping resources for long-distance bikers. For additional information, please click here.


The Expanding Public Lands Outdoor Recreation Experiences (EXPLORE) Act is a comprehensive, bipartisan, and bicameral legislation that was introduced by Natural Resources Committee Chairman Westerman and Ranking Member Grijalva to improve access and transform outdoor recreation opportunities on our public lands and waters. The bill:


·      Modernizes technology to improve visitor experiences, such as increasing broadband connectivity at recreation sites, creating digital recreation passes, and creating new pilot programs to monitor visitation.

·      Streamlines the permitting process and reduces burdensome fees for small businesses that depend on reliable access to public lands.

·      Reduces park overcrowding by creating new and innovative models to encourage public recreation in less-traveled areas.

·      Supports gateway communities by addressing housing shortages, parking and infrastructure issues, and challenges due to overcrowding.

·      Transforms accessibility for individuals with disabilities by creating new accessible trails and recreation opportunities across our public lands.