(Washington D.C.)—The House Natural Resources Committee has passed important legislation to create comprehensive digital mapping records for recreational access opportunities on public land.
The Modernizing Access to our Public Land Act received a markup in the House Natural Resources Committee and passed with unanimous support. With only a few minor technical modifications, the bill will now be referred to the floor for consideration by the full chamber.
“We thank the members of the committee for supporting this legislation, which has become a top-line priority for hunters and anglers across the country,” said Whit Fosburgh, president and CEO of the Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership. “Sportsmen and sportswomen are counting on the House to bring this bill to an expeditious vote so that this important work can begin as soon as possible.”
Introduced in the House and Senate earlier this year with bipartisan support, the MAPLand Act would direct federal land management agencies to consolidate, digitize, and make publicly available all recreational access information in a format that can be used with computer mapping programs and GPS applications.
These records include information about:
- legal easements and rights-of-way across private land;
- year-round or seasonal closures of roads and trails, as well as restrictions on vehicle-type;
- boundaries of areas where special rules or prohibitions apply to hunting and shooting;
- and areas of public waters that are closed to watercraft or have horsepower restrictions.
“Without a doubt, the loss of access is one of the most pressing issues facing today’s hunters and anglers,” said Fosburgh. “Our community appreciates the leadership shown by lawmakers from both parties to help move the MAPLand Act. We are encouraged by the bill’s progress, and we will continue to speak in support of this commonsense investment in public land recreational opportunities
Founded in 2002, the TRCP is the largest coalition of conservation organizations in the country, uniting and amplifying the voices of sportsmen and women by convening hunting and fishing groups, conservation organizations, and outdoor businesses to a common purpose.