The Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee held an oversight hearing on March 14th to “Examine Opportunities to Improve Access, Infrastructure, and Permitting for Outdoor Recreation.” During the hearing, Senators on the committee asked questions about access issues and explored ways to improve access to public lands. Now here is the really exciting part – while a variety of public lands access issues were discussed, the majority of the conversation revolved around issues related to outfitter and guide permitting. It was a tremendous exposé of the difficulties outfitters and guides are experiencing on a daily basis when trying to help the public recreate on public lands. Even the Chair of the committee, Senator Lisa Murkowski, explained that an ice fishing guide in her home state of Alaska was told it would take 7 years to get a permit. In response to this, she stared at the audience and in dramatic fashion said, “This is unacceptable.” You can watch the full hearing on the committee website. You can also read the testimony submitted by the AMGA on behalf of the guiding community.
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