WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Key components of an Oregon Senator’s recreation plan passed through a Congressional committee this week. Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR) has been pushing his “Recreation Not Red Tape" Act for several years, "The laws governing recreation, with respect to federal agencies, are still sort of from the dark ages. For example, we want to make sure people can pay online."
He says the current level of bureaucracy stifles economic growth in regions that rely on outdoor recreation tourism dollars, like Central Oregon, "And people from around the country even, who wanted to come to Oregon and recreate in Central Oregon and put money into the Central Oregon economy, they said, ‘I can’t get through the red tape. I get up at 3 o’clock in the morning and I’m hold on the phone'."
Among other things, it aims to simplify how fees are collected by adding an online payment option, and ensure veterans have access to outdoor recreation, volunteer and wellness programs. He tells KBND News, "With recreation particularly growing during the pandemic - one of the things we sure learned is people love to get outdoors. It’s a big economic winner. It’s why I’m pushing so hard on my River Democracy bill. And what I’m trying to do on recreation is pretty much the same thing: throw open the doors of government, get people’s input and make the machinery give them a chance to do what they want."
Parts of Wyden’s act were included in bipartisan legislation approved this week by the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee.