MEMO: House EXPLORE Act has Great Potential for Outdoor Accessibility


WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Access to nature is a right, but too many barriers currently stand in the way between the outdoors and historically underserved communities. Those include cost, transportation, quality, safety, accessibility, and experience. Improving the opportunities for communities to access the outdoors will ensure that more people can experience the scientifically proven physical and mental health benefits of time spent in nature. 

The recently introduced House Outdoor Recreation package, Expanding Public Lands Outdoor Recreation Experiences (EXPLORE) Act, co-sponsored by Reps. Bruce Westerman and Raúl Grijalva, is a bipartisan win for outdoor access.

The House will engage in markups for the bill tomorrow. Sierra Club is calling on the House to utilize this opportunity to its full potential in improving outdoor access for all to pass the strongest possible version of the EXPLORE Act.

Highlights from the EXPLORE Act:

  • The Every Kid Outdoors program – free access to federal public lands and waters for fourth graders – would be reauthorized for seven years, guaranteeing the opportunity for more generations of children to connect with nature. 
  • The package includes provisions from the Military Veterans in Parks Act and Get Rewarding Outdoor Work for our Veterans Act, promoting opportunities and enhancing outdoor recreation experiences for veterans and active duty members on federal lands. The provisions in question would improve signage and disability access, include a jobs pilot program for veterans at the Department of the Interior, and create the Military Veterans Outdoor Recreation Liaison as an interagency position in the administration.
  • The Outdoors for All Act would codify the Outdoors Recreation Legacy Partnership (ORLP) program, which helps economically disadvantaged communities with little to no access to public outdoor recreation spaces by providing funding for building or improving outdoor recreation sites and facilities.
  • The Simplifying Outdoor Access for Recreation Act would simplify and streamline permitting processes for guides, outfitters, outdoor leaders and nonprofit organizations. This would reduce barriers that communities and organizations can face in organizing outdoor excursions and facilitating access to nature.

Sierra Club policy staff and spokespeople are available to discuss this legislation and the impacts it can lead to for communities.

About the Sierra Club

The Sierra Club is America’s largest and most influential grassroots environmental organization, with millions of members and supporters. In addition to protecting every person's right to get outdoors and access the healing power of nature, the Sierra Club works to promote clean energy, safeguard the health of our communities, protect wildlife, and preserve our remaining wild places through grassroots activism, public education, lobbying, and legal action. For more information, visit