Representatives Moore, Fulcher, Neguse, and Schrier Introduce the Modernizing Access to our Public Land Act to Digitize Federal Land Mapping Records
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, Representative Blake Moore (R-UT) was joined by Representatives Russ Fulcher (R-ID), Joe Neguse (D-CO), and Kim Schrier (D-WA) in introducing the Modernizing Access to our Public Land (MAPLand) Act, which would direct federal land management agencies to digitize and standardize mapping records. This will allow hunters, anglers, and millions of other federal land users to access essential information about public lands as well as help federal land management agencies identify public lands with limited or nonexistent public access points and take proactive steps to open them to the public.
“Our nation is blessed with some of the most incredible scenic landscapes and outdoor spaces in the world,” said Congressman Blake Moore (R-UT). “But each year, millions of Americans venture into the great outdoors without having the most up-to-date data on land access. I am proud to sponsor the MAPLand Act, which would address this by digitizing tens of thousands of records to ensure that fishers, hikers, bikers, hunters, and all who seek to enjoy our federal lands have access to the information they need to fully experience our country’s natural wonders.”
“Sportsmen and outdoor recreationalists have a tremendous impact on our Idaho culture and economy,” said Congressman Russ Fulcher (R-ID). “As the proud author of this bill last year, I am thankful for Rep. Moore’s leadership and interest in furthering this effort to modernize information and access to our public lands so that those in Idaho, Utah, and around the country can better utilize these public places.”
“In Colorado, access to public lands fuels our robust outdoor recreation economy, contributes to the health and well-being of Coloradans and is at the core of our state’s values,” said Congressman Joe Neguse (D-CO). “I’m proud to help introduce the bipartisan MAPLand Act today which will modernize and formalize data sharing across public land agencies, to support our natural resource workforce, our communities and outdoor recreation activities.”
“My family treasures the time we spend hiking, biking, and fishing across our region,” said Rep. Kim Schrier, M.D. (D-WA) “We are fortunate to live in a state full of natural beauty, with some of the best parks and recreation areas our country has to offer. Modernizing and standardizing information so people know how to access our public lands will allow Washingtonians and visitors from across the country and world to enjoy our great outdoors. I’m proud to sponsor this bipartisan bill that will protect our beloved public lands and also support local businesses that rely on the outdoor recreational economy.”
“Access is one of the most important issues facing hunters and anglers today, and the MAPLand Act is a commonsense investment to ensure all Americans can take full advantage of the recreational opportunities on our public lands," said Whit Fosburgh, President and CEO of the Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership. "In addition to making it easier for public land users to stay safe and follow the rules while out in the field or on the water, this bill would allow our agencies to manage and plan more effectively while also reducing the potential for access-related conflicts between recreators and private landowners. Simply put, this legislation promises to help more people get outdoors. We appreciate Representative Moore for his leadership to introduce this bill in the House and our community is eager to help move the MAPLand Act through Congress.”
Currently, more than 9.52 million acres of land in the West lack permanent and legal access points for public use, and information on these lands is still kept on paper files. Approximately 5,000 of the Forest Service’s 37,000 recorded easements have been digitized and uploaded to an electronic database. The MAPLand Act would help give federal land management agencies the resources they need to digitize these files for public use, as well as require these agencies to provide information on seasonal vehicle restrictions on public roads and trails, hunting boundaries, and watercraft restrictions.
The text of the bill can be found here.
The MAPLand Act has received broad support from several groups and organizations, including the following:
“U.S. GEO commends Representatives Blake Moore (R-UT), Joe Neguse (D-CO), Kim Schrier (D-WA), and Russ Fulcher (R-ID) for their bipartisan introduction of the Modernizing Access to our Public Land (MAPLand) Act. This legislation will help the Departments of the Interior and Agriculture, and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers become better stewards of Federal and public lands and better land managers by bringing their records into the 21st Century.” -John Palatiello, Found of U.S. GEO
“The GPS Innovation Alliance is proud to support the bipartisan MAPLand Act, which recognizes the role that GPS technology plays in improving access to our nation’s public lands. We look forward to working with leaders in the House and Senate to advance this legislative effort to digitize and standardize mapping records, while continuing to highlight the importance of promoting, protecting, and enhancing GPS.” -J. David Grossman, Executive Director of the GPS Innovation Alliance
“The National Society of Professional Surveyors (NSPS) commends the bipartisan leadership provided by Representatives Blake Moore (R-UT), Joe Neguse (D-CO), Russ Fulcher (R-ID), and Kim Schrier (D-WA) with their introduction of the Modernizing Access to our Public Land (MAPLand) Act while recognizing the importance of Global Positioning Systems (GPS) technologies. NSPS stands ready to help with the objectives of this important Federal land and ownership data reform legislation, and strongly encourages Congress and the President to enact the MAPLand Act into law.” -Curtis Sumner, Executive Director of NSPS E
“From the Everglades to the North Cascades, we want to see more anglers getting out and enjoying the world-class experiences that our public lands and waters have to offer. Anything that can be done to simplify the challenge of figuring out where to go, and what you can do when you get there, is going to make it easier for people to join our community—and that is a huge driver of economic growth.” -Costa Sunglasses
“Our consumers are some of the most relentless hunters and outdoorsmen in the nation, and they rely on access to public lands throughout the year. The MAPLand Act would allow them to discover new outdoor opportunities and help to introduce the next generation to the sporting traditions we all hold dear.” -Bruce Pettet, President and Chief Executive Officer of Leupold & Stevens, Inc.
“The MAPLandAct is a much-needed investment in the outdoor recreation industry and the future of empowering the public to get outside and experience our public lands. Public land recreation has been revolutionized by handheld GPS technology in smartphones and other devices, allowing users of all types and experience levels to know where they stand in the outdoors. After spending over a decade gathering recreation information for our customers and making it easily discoverable, we continue to find valuable recreation information that exists only on paper. The data need to be complete, easy to find, and easy to use for the public to fully understand the recreation opportunities available to them. The MAPLand Act is a much-needed investment in the outdoor recreation industry and in the future of empowering the public to get outside and experience our public lands.” -Eric Siegfried, Founder of onX
“In order for us to continue to grow this important sector that makes up 2.2% of the national GDP and employs 5.2 Million Americans, we need to know where we can get outside on public and private lands and when and how to best protect them. The MAPLandAct will help us do just that...” -Jessica Wahl, Executive Director of the Outdoor Recreation Roundtable
“Cutting-edge technology has enhanced access to our favorite places to hunt and fish. Now is the time to standardize government agency records and support our agency partners’ work so that we can continue to enjoy better access. Contact your member of Congress today and let them know we need this legislation.” -Dave Nomsen, VP of Government Affairs for Pheasants Forever and Quail Forever
“Public lands provide hunters and anglers with unrivaled outdoor experiences, and we’re excited to support the MAPLand Act because it will allow more Americans to take full advantage of these opportunities. This is a bill that will make a real difference for sportsmen and women all across the country.” -Angie Timm, General Manager and Founder of Seek Outside
"Businesses across the country are counting on lawmakers to move quickly on this common-sense opportunity to strengthen America’s outdoor recreation opportunities. We’re fortunate in this country to have hundreds of millions of acres of lands where anyone can go out and explore, and these places are important to our customers. The MAPLand Act is a common-sense proposal that would make a big difference for outdoor enthusiasts as well as the businesses that serve them.” -Thaddeus Kaczmarek, Consumer Experience Leader with Sitka Gear
“The MAPLand Act will do a great deal to assist sportsmen and women in identifying places where they can hunt and fish on the public lands that they as taxpayers own.” -Miles Moretti, The Mule Deer Foundation
“The MAPLand Act makes sure that information about public land access and areas open for hunting and fishing is kept current and readily available for sportsmen and women.” -Steve Candell, Trout Unlimited
"The American Prairie region is home to a broad spectrum of land ownership and land usages, leaving visitors and community members faced with navigating: private land open to the public, public land, and neighboring private land without public access. Digital maps help visitors respect boundaries and know where they are on the vast checkerboard of Montana's prairies. We support the MAPLand Act's efforts to make more of that access information available to the public." - Mike Quist Kautz, Director of Public Access and Recreation at American Prairie