Diane Bristol: Support the US Outdoor Recreation Act | Columnists

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DIANE BRISTOL

Now that summer is here, I can’t wait to get out on the water and fish with my family and friends. With 30 million acres of public land and water right here in Montana, the outdoors provides an excellent release from the stresses of modern life for all Montanaers. According to the American Sportfishing Association (ASA), the trade association representing the sport fishing industry and the broader recreational fishing community, the recreational fishing community contributes $125 billion to the US economy. each year and supports more than 825,000 jobs.

Living in Montana since 1991 and being a longtime employee of Simms Fishing Products, headquartered in Bozeman, I know firsthand the positive economic impact recreational fishing has on the state. Since 1980, we’ve been producing revolutionary fishing gear that helps sportspeople “fish harder and go further”, and I’m proud to say that our team of wader manufacturers have been manufacturing technical products in Bozeman for nearly 35 years. .

Earlier this year, significant new legislation was introduced in the US Senate that will improve access to outdoor recreation on public lands in Montana and across the United States.

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Provisions in the U.S. Outdoor Recreation Act of 2022 (S. 3266) will help streamline permitting processes, build and update outdoor access infrastructure projects, and improve waste collection. data. If passed, this legislation would help everyone in Montana spend more time on the water and provide meaningful reforms that would result in a positive impact ensuring we have more opportunities to enjoy the outdoors.

There are three aspects of the bill that would specifically benefit recreational fishing. The first, dedicated to improving attendance data, requires federal land and water agencies to establish a primary attendance data management and modeling system that tracks public recreation. Federal assistance for land and water resource activities will increase inspections and decontamination efforts of watercraft entering and leaving federally managed sites in western states, including Montana. This will help stop the spread of aquatic invasive species between waterways and reduce disruptions and delays for uncontaminated vessels entering public waters. In addition, Ensuring Recreation is a Management Priority, creates an inventory of recreational activities taking place on federal lands and requires agencies that manage these areas to protect and enhance the value of outdoor recreation.

These are examples of the many provisions of this bill that would directly benefit recreational fishing and are more than enough reason for the Senate to pass this bill.

Presented by the senses. Joe Manchin (DW.Va.) and John Barrasso (R-Wyo.), the bill received unanimous support from the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee. Montana’s own Senator Steve Daines sits on the committee, and I thank him for his support. The U.S. Outdoor Recreation Act includes legislation introduced by Daines to support gateway communities and address challenges facing national parks and public lands.

The U.S. Outdoor Recreation Act has the support of dozens of outdoor recreation organizations, including ASA, Outdoor Recreation Roundtable, Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership, Outdoor Industry Association, and The Trust for Public Land.

I urge everyone in Montana to contact our senators through the ASA’s Keep America Fishing Action Center, which connects you directly with policy makers and members of Congress responsible for creating fishing policy. national scale. Please support the Outdoor Recreation Act and let’s ensure Montana residents continue to enjoy our public lands for years to come.

Diane Bristol is vice president of culture and community at Simms Fishing Products, located in Bozeman, and serves on the board of directors of the American Sportfishing Association.

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