Luján, Cramer, Manchin, Barrasso, Reintroduce Bipartisan Legislation to Bolster Recreational Biking on Federal Lands
Washington, D.C. – This week, U.S. Senators Ben Ray Luján (D-N.M.), Kevin Cramer (R-N.D.), Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.), and John Barrasso (R-Wyo.) reintroduced the Biking On Long-Distance Trails (BOLT) Act to bolster outdoor recreation and biking on federal lands across the country. As the outdoor recreation economy grows, this legislation capitalizes on New Mexico’s 21 million acres of rich landscapes and the vast federal lands across the United States to make bike trails more accessible. U.S. Representative Joe Neguse (D-Colo.), John Curtis (R-UT) and Susie Lee (D-NV) will introduce similar legislation in the House.
Specifically, the BOLT Act directs the Department of the Interior (DOI) to:
- Identify not fewer than 10 long-distance bike trails;
- Identify not fewer than 10 areas in which there is an opportunity to develop or complete long-distance bike trials;
- Allow the DOI to publish and distribute maps, install signage, and issue promotional materials;
- Publish a report that lists the trails developed under this legislation.
“New Mexico is known for our great outdoors which enriches the lives of New Mexicans and draws in thousands of visitors each year. Many people across the country – myself included – enjoy mountain biking and exploring all that the Land of Enchantment has to offer,” said Senator Luján. “That’s why I’m proud to introduce this bipartisan legislation that will identify federal land for recreational use. This bill will make bike trails and outdoor spaces safer and more accessible for all to use and explore, while also bringing jobs and growing our local economies.”
“As a former Tourism Director for the State of North Dakota, I know the important role outdoor recreation plays in providing enriching experiences, generating economic opportunity, and seeing more of our beautiful state,” said Senator Cramer. “Bikers and hikers alike flock to the Maah Daah Hey Trail in western North Dakota. Our bipartisan bill would help promote trails like this so more of the public can enjoy them.”
“Everyone that lives in and visits West Virginia knows why we call it wild and wonderful. We love the great outdoors, and the beautiful mountains we live in provide some of the best outdoor recreation opportunities the U.S. has to offer, including long-distance biking trails. This bill could help expand those trail options and could provide a unique opportunity for cities and towns near West Virginia’s national forests to build new, long-distance bike trails that will grow our outdoor recreation economy and draw more tourists to the mountain state,” said Senator Manchin.
“For communities across Colorado, this bill is key. It will expand outdoor recreation opportunities and boost mountain economies, which rely on the outdoor industry and tourism revenue,” said Congressman Neguse. “As the Representative of a district made up of nearly 60% federal lands, ensuring travelers from across the world can visit the national treasures and precious public spaces that we’re lucky to call home is a big priority of mine. I’m thrilled to lead this legislation and look forward to working with the bipartisan coalition of lawmakers supporting this bill to get it over the finish line.”
“IMBA is once again excited to support the BOLT Act and see it through to passage in the 118th Congress. It’s a bipartisan, bicameral effort that invests in outdoor recreation infrastructure, creates economic opportunities for rural communities, and provides pathways for improved physical and mental health. We are greatly appreciative to Senators Luján, Manchin, Cramer, and Barrasso as well as Representatives Neguse, Susie Lee, and Curtis for being our champions,” said Todd Keller, Director of Government Affairs, International Mountain Bicycling Association.
“Some of Adventure Cycling’s most iconic routes are the ones that showcase our public lands, and allow people to experience these amazing places in a sustainable way. We envision a future where long-distance trails enable more people to take advantage of the incredible assets of this nation,” said Adventure Cycling Association.
“At Bikepacking Roots, we strive to connect bikepackers to landscapes through immersive, beautiful, and iconic routes on public lands. Routes that could be developed from the BOLT Act will further connect bikepackers to America’s public lands. In connecting with landscape through the medium of bikepacking, cyclists have powerful experiences that lead to a stewardship ethic and advocacy,” said Bikepacking Roots.
“The BOLT Act would diversify the economy, improve the physical and mental health of the community, and help attract much needed skilled workers looking for recreation close to home. I am sure there are many communities across the country who would see similar benefits,” said Jen Hanks, Southern Nevada Mountain Bike Association.
“The BOLT Act will help rural recreation economies plan for and meet the growing demand for bicycling as a low-cost, emissionless, and tourism-driving activity,” said PeopleForBikes President and CEO Jenn Dice. “This bill proves that bike policy brings both sides of the aisle together to expand access to recreation infrastructure. We look forward to working with the bill’s sponsors, all champions for the outdoors, to advance the BOLT Act.”
Full text of the bill is available HERE.