EXPLORE Act Introduced in Congress Includes Biking on Long Distance Trails; Advocates Call for Support

The BOLT Act is back in Congress, this time rolled into the greater EXPLORE Act. Here's how to support long distance trails.
Photo: Bikepacking Roots

The Expanding Public Lands Outdoor Recreation Experiences (EXPLORE) Act has been introduced into Congress with bi-partisan support amidst a normally divided House, writes IMBA.

The EXPLORE Act combines several outdoor recreation initiatives including the Biking on Long Distance Trails (BOLT) Act, parts of the Recreation Not Red Tape Act, the Simplifying Outdoor Access for Recreation Bill, the Every Kid Outdoors Act and accessibility for military service members and veterans, and others.

Members of the Outdoor Recreation Roundtable testified on behalf of the EXPLORE Act during the House’s first Natural Resources Subcommittee on Federal Lands on November 30. IMBA provided written testimony.

“IMBA strongly supports the Expanding Public Lands Outdoor Recreation Experiences Act,” adding that they believe the BOLT Act will “improve access to quality outdoor recreation trail opportunities on public lands across America.”

As a reminder, the BOLT Act would identify at least 10 existing long-distance bike trails on federal land each with more than 80 miles in distance, identify 10 areas where there is opportunity to develop complete long-distance trails, and coordinate with stakeholders to complete such projects as well as publish maps, signs and information materials about such trails.

The BOLT Act has been in and out of Congress for at least two years now, and last year it passed through the House and Senate but did not move forward before the end of the Congressional session, according to an email from Bikepacking Roots, an advocacy group. The BOLT Act was reintroduced in both chambers in the same manner: as a stand-alone bill in the House and in a package in the Senate.

Bikepacking Roots says this introduction “moves things closer to passing companion recreation packages in both the House and the Senate,” but they are still calling for support from bikepackers, mountain bikers, and outdoor recreators.

Supporters of the EXPLORE Act and the initiatives included can quickly send letters to lawmakers here.