This bill would aim to improve the management of public lands, protect treasured landscapes, increase recreational access to public lands, and protect private property rights by combining more than 100 proposals that gained bipartisan support as standalone bills in the previous or current Congress. A breakdown of its various sections can be found below (and we’ve linked to standalone bills we’ve summarized that are included in this legislation).
PUBLIC LANDS & FORESTS
This section would enact modifications to the boundaries of federal lands and national forests, authorize maintenance activities, designate and withdraw wilderness status, and designate wild & scenic rivers. In sum, this section would designate about 1.3 million acres of wilderness in three states while withdrawing roughly 400,000 acres of wilderness in two states (both the designations and withdrawals have broad local support).
It’d authorize 17 land exchanges or conveyances that would transfer federally-managed lands to state, local, or private control to facilitate better land management and locally-driven economic growth. It would also include 20 provisions related to public lands and national forest system management that include provisions that would authorize maintenance activities, transfer land, name mountains, and clarify existing policies.
For example, it’d adjust the boundary of a wilderness study area in Oregon near the community of Crooked River Ranch to allow for fire prevention activities, and require a survey of the Red River boundary between Texas and Oklahoma. It’d also allow Alaska natives who served in the Vietnam War to apply for an allotment of land in Alaska
Public lands in the California Desert Conservation Area would see the addition of new areas designated as wilderness , while boundaries of the conservation area would be modified to add to the Death Valley National Park, the Mojave National Preserve, and the Joshua Tree National Park. Public lands in Emery County, Utah would also see new additions of wilderness areas, land conveyances, the designation of the Green River as Wild and Scenic, and the designation of a historic mining recreation area.
Additionally, this section would designate several new wild & scenic rivers in the Northeast — including the Lower Farmington River and Salmon Brook River, the Wood-Pawcatuck Watershed River, and the Nashua River.
This section of the bill would commission special resource studies for several potential additions to the National Park System (NPS), including James Polk’s presidential home; Thurgood Marshall’s elementary school; and George W. Bush’s childhood home. Another 10 provisions of this section would modify or clarify the boundaries of NPS sites, while six NPS sites would be redesignated, and three new sites would be designated.
Further, four provisions of this section would modify the boundaries of four national trails, reauthorize historic preservation grants for buildings at historically black colleges and universities.
The Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) would be permanently reauthorized. The LWCF would be reformed to include a specific allocation for state-side projects and another for access projects. It’d also give territories and the District of Columbia parity with states when receiving funds from the program.
This section of the bill would keep federal Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and National Forest System lands open to hunting, fishing, and recreational shooting unless an area has to be closed for public safety, in which case the agency of jurisdiction could only close those lands following a public notice period. It’d also facilitate the construction and expansion of public target ranges, including ranges on BLM and national forest lands.
HAZARDS & MAPPING
This section would reform the National Volcano Early Warning and Monitoring System to provide for continuous situational awareness of high-threat volcanoes, like the Kilauea Volcano in Hawaii. It’d also extend a program that produces advanced geologic maps.
This section would designate or expand several heritage areas:
The Maritime Washington National Heritage Area and the Mountains to Sound Greenway National Heritage Area in Washington state.
The Santa Cruz Valley National Heritage Area in California.
The Appalachian Forest National Heritage Area in West Virginia.
The Abraham Lincoln National Heritage Area in Illinois would be expanded.
The Finger Lakes in Minnesota would be studied as a potential national heritage area.
WILDLIFE HABITAT & CONSERVATION
This section would make permanent a program that updates and digitizes maps of coastal areas, and make certain coastal communities eligible to purchase federal flood insurance. It’d also reauthorize a neotropical migratory bird conservation program.
WATER & POWER
This section would make it easier for the Bureau of Reclamation to transfer certain federally-operated water projects to local control and reauthorize programs aimed at the recovery of endangered fish species.
Fourth graders and their families would get free entrance to federal lands under the Every Kid Outdoors Act.
It would change outdated & offensive racial terms in USDA & Interior Dept. regulations.
Search and rescue teams would have easier access to federal lands.
It’d designate the National George C. Marshall Museum and Library, and set up a process for the designation of American World War II Heritage Cities.