WASHINGTON, D.C. – This week, Congressman Blake Moore’s Modernizing Access to our Public Land (MAPLand) Act was passed by the Senate and will now make its way to the White House to be signed into law by President Biden.
The MAPLand Act will direct federal land management agencies to digitize and standardize mapping records. This will allow hunters, hikers, bikers, 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.
“I’m thrilled my MAPLand Act is on its way to President Biden’s desk,” Congressman Blake Moore said. “This is a major step forward for all who enjoy our federal lands. I thank my colleagues in the Senate for their strong display of support for our efforts to modernize and digitize our critical public land records. I am grateful we can deliver this major win for Utah and our nation at large.”
As it currently stands, 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 primarily being stored 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 will help provide federal land management agencies the resources they need to digitize these files for public use. It will also require these agencies to provide information on seasonal vehicle restrictions on public roads and trails, hunting boundaries, and watercraft restrictions.
A full text of the bill can be found here.