House Passes Historic Bipartisan Outdoor Recreation Package, Eyes on Senate for Swift Action

WASHINGTON, D.C., April 15, 2024 — In a landmark bipartisan achievement, the U.S. House of Representatives has passed the Expanding Public Lands Outdoor Recreation Experiences (EXPLORE) Act. This critical step demonstrates the powerful momentum Outdoor Recreation Roundtable (ORR) members and industry partners have helped generate in promoting policies that expand access and transform outdoor recreation opportunities. The outdoor recreation economy, recently valued at over $1.1 trillion, continues to build upon the success of the Great American Outdoors Act of 2022 — one of the most significant public lands and waters legislations enacted in our nation’s history. 

House Passes Historic Bipartisan Outdoor Recreation Package, eyes on Senate
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The EXPLORE Act’s passage through the House represents a historic moment as it is the first-ever outdoor recreation-specific bill package, and it achieves this without cost to taxpayers. The bipartisan legislation is poised to stimulate local and national economies, enhance access for Americans — particularly those in underserved communities — to green spaces, and modernize policies to bolster the recreation businesses that bridge people with nature. The bill complements the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee’s America’s Outdoor Recreation Act (AORA). 

“The recreational boating industry thanks Chairman Westerman and Ranking Member Grijalva for being champions of this important legislation and all who voted to pass the EXPLORE Act out of the House. This critical bipartisan legislation will ultimately improve outdoor recreation opportunities on our federal lands while simultaneously supporting the outfitters and federal employees that make these opportunities possible,” said Matt Gruhn, President of the Marine Retailers Association of the Americas. “Passing during a time of legislative gridlock highlights the continued commitment of the House of Representatives to supporting our nation’s diverse outdoor recreation economy and ensure opportunities to enjoy the outdoors exist for all Americans. From mental health benefits to providing much needed economic stimulus for rural communities, the power of outdoor recreation in America is no secret, and the MRAA lauds the House’s commitment to improving and growing outdoor recreation experiences on our nation’s public lands and waters.” 

For a more detailed overview of the EXPLORE Act, click here to view the section by section breakdown of the legislation. In summary, the EXPLORE Act will: 

  • Facilitate permit streamlining, alleviating challenges for outfitters and guides and enhancing access to outdoor adventures; 
  • Expand recreation on public lands and waters; 
  • Guarantee green space access in underserved communities; 
  • Develop, improve and complete long-range trails; and 
  • Boost rural economic development. 

The MRAA and the rest of the Outdoor Recreation Roundtable community applaud this significant progress in the House and call for the expedient passage of the outdoor recreation package through the Senate. This action is vital for the protection and enjoyment of our public lands, waters and the communities prospering from them. 

Jessica Wahl Turner, President of the Outdoor Recreation Roundtable, commended the House’s action, stating, “The House’s passage of the EXPLORE Act is a pivotal advancement for outdoor recreation and the outdoor recreation industry in the United States. Spearheaded by the collaborative efforts of Chairman Bruce Westerman, Ranking Member Raul Grijalva, and a bipartisan group of their colleagues, this legislation shows our collective commitment to ensure outdoor experiences are accessible to every American now and for future generations. As we celebrate this victory, we look forward to the Senate, led by the champions of AORA — Senators Manchin and Barrasso — quickly taking up the mantle and working towards enacting these crucial measures.” 

For more information on the bill and its progress, visit To see a list of quotes from supporting organizations, visit

Outdoor Recreation Roundtable Member Quotes: 
“Thank you to Chair Bruce Westerman (R-AR) and Ranking Member Raul Grijalva (D-AZ) for spearheading the EXPLORE Act, which will help safeguard our natural resources and ensure our bodies of water are properly preserved and protected,” said Frank Hugelmeyer, President and CEO of the National Marine Manufacturers Association (NMMA). “This legislation not only increases outdoor recreation access for millions of Americans but also mandates vital enhancements to detect and manage aquatic invasive species. On behalf of the recreational boating industry, NMMA is proud to support this important legislation that helps keep our lakes and inland waterways healthy and strengthens boaters’ access to these natural resources.”  

“Congress has a tremendous opportunity to bolster the nation’s $1.1 trillion outdoor recreation economy through passage of the EXPLORE Act,” said Glenn Hughes, President of the American Sportfishing Association. “Well managed and accessible federal lands are vital to recreational fishing and boating, which is the largest contributor to the outdoor recreation economy. The sportfishing industry thanks Chair Westerman, Ranking Member Grijalva, Chair Tiffany and Ranking Member Neguse for championing this important effort.”  

“The EXPLORE Act is bipartisan legislation that will help ensure that Americans continue to enjoy the benefits of recreating outdoors for generations to come,” said National RV Dealers Association President Phil Ingrassia. “The act will improve and modernize recreation infrastructure on public lands to support everyone who enjoys the great outdoors, including the growing number of RV travelers.”  

Click here to see what the rest of the ORR Community is saying.

About the Marine Retailers Association of the Americas
At the Marine Retailers Association of the Americas, we believe that for the marine industry to thrive, the retail organizations that interact with the boaters in their community must thrive. With that in mind, MRAA works to create a strong and healthy boating industry by uniting those retailers, providing them with opportunities for improvement and growth, and representing them with a powerful voice. For more information, visit or contact us at 763-315-8043.

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