Action on TRAIL Act applauded
June 7, 2004
Filed under Features
The U.S. House of Representatives Resources Committee recently sent HR 3247, the TRAIL Act, to the full House for further legislative action.
Introduced Oct. 2, 2003, by U.S. Rep. Tom Tancredo (R-Colorado), the TRAIL Act – formally known as the Trail Responsibility and Accountability for Improving our Lands Act – provides for consistent enforcement of land use, protection and management regulations by the federal Bureau of Land Management, the National Park Service, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and the U.S. Forest Service. Currently, those agencies impose different penalties on recreational users who damage public land.
Sponsors say the bill will prevent additional Federal lands and waterways from being closed to recreational use by giving governmental agencies the power to impose significant fines for irresponsible behavior by individuals and groups.
“This legislation sends a clear message to those who deliberately engage in irresponsible recration,” said Tancredo. “Abuse our public lands and you will pay the price.”
Outdoor recreation organizations such as Americans for Responsible Recreation Access (ARRA), the American Council of Snowmobile Associations, the American Motorcyclist Association (AMA), the National Marine Mannufacturer’s Association (NMMA), and other pro-recreation organizations have endorsed Rep. Tancredo’s legislation.
Larry E. Smith, executive director of ARRA, says the legislation will eliminate the many conflicting laws and sentencing guidelines that currently exist on the books.
“This legislation will for the first time provide a consistent framework of enforcement authority among all of our public lands agencies,”Smith said. “Now all Federal land agencies will be able to focus on better law enforcement of our public lands knowing that the penalties associated with such bad behavior will be treated the same regardless of the actual venue.”
A Washington, D.C. based voice for responsible outdoor recreation, ARRA says it represents the interests of millions of people who enjoy many different forms of outdoor recreation – from hiking to hunting to OHV use.
Smith praised the House Resources Committee, particularly the work of its Chairman, Richard Pombo (R-CA), and Representatives Tom Tancredo (R-CO), Scott McInnis (R-CO) and Mark Udall (D-CO), the prime sponsors of the legislation.
“The passage of this measure will have a positive impact on our environment, and signifies a victory for the vast majority of recreationists who enjoy our public lands responsibly, and generate billions of dollars for local economies,” said Patrick Holtz, the AMA’s Washington representative. “This bi-partisan bill will give federal land managers the tools they need to make sure that those who consciously violate rules on public lands pay the price.”
The Legislature’s consideration of provisions and desired amendments to HR 3247 are due no later than June 30. psb