Politics

Sen. Mike Lee introduces 3 bills to increase access to public lands

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Senator Mike Lee has had a productive week in Washington D.C., where the Utah Senator has introduced three distinct bills aimed at enhancing access to public lands in Utah and nationwide.

Sen. Lee introduced the Human-Powered Travel in Wilderness Areas Act; a bill to authorize the use of off-highway vehicles in certain areas of the Capitol Reef National Park; and a bill to amend Title 54, a part of the United States Code, to provide that state law shall apply to the use of motor vehicles on roads within National Parks.

“In each of these bills, we aim to return control to those who are closest to our public lands — the states and local communities,” said Sen. Lee.

“By doing so, we can ensure that our conservation efforts are practical, effective, and tailored to the unique characteristics of each area, while expanding access for all Americans to enjoy our nation’s natural beauty.”

The Human-Powered Travel in Wilderness Areas Act aims to amend the Wilderness Act of 1964, which prohibits the use of motorized vehicles in specific wildlife areas on public land.

Sen. Lee believes that the Wilderness Act of 1964 has been incorrectly used to prohibit non-motorized travel on public lands.

This legislation would call for the Secretary of Agriculture and the Secretary of the Interior to authorize local officials to determine methods and areas in which non-motorized travel will be permitted.

“As it stands, too many trails on federal lands, notably in Wilderness areas, have fallen into disrepair or disappeared entirely,” said Ted Stroll of the Sustainable Trails Coalition.

“Too few people use them and far too few people help maintain them, which is a loss for public awareness of the majesty of our public lands and the need to conserve them.”

If passed, Sen. Lee’s second piece of legislation would authorize the use of off-highway vehicles within specific areas of Capital Reef National Park.

Sen. Lee’s legislation would allow for the use of these off-highway vehicles on Burr Trail Road, Cathedral Road, Hartnet Road, Highway 24, Notom Bullfrog Road, Polk Creek Road, Oil Ranch Road, and Baker Ranch Road in Capital Reef National Park.

Lastly, Sen. Lee hopes to amend Title 54 of the United States Code, giving states the authority to monitor motor and off-highway vehicles in National Park systems within their state.

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