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Why the Newly Introduced Active Transportation for Public Lands Act Will Be Good for Wyoming

Wyoming Pathways Executive Director Tim Young explains the potential benefits of the newly introduced Active Transportation for Public Lands Act legislation for Wyoming:

On January 16th, 2020, Representative Jared Huffman introduced H.R.5642 Active Transportation for Public Lands Act, a bill to address the need for safe bicycling and walking paths on federal public lands. Wyoming Pathways applauds Rep. Huffman and the 10 original co-sponsors, this is a good bill for public lands in Wyoming. 

Wyoming’s public lands need a boost, and that’s becoming clearer and clearer to the growing number of visitors, including Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks. As park roads and parking become increasingly more congested, we have to offer safer active transportation options for those choosing to bike and walk to visit our most scenic landscapes. 
 
A 5% set-aside isn’t asking for more money in the budget, just a promise to apportion a small amount of the existing funds to projects that allow visitors to safely get out of their cars and fully experience our public lands on two wheels or their own two feet. The Active Transportation for Public Lands Act would help provide that safe and comfortable experience.
 
Exploring America’s iconic national parks and public lands by bicycle and on foot provides visitors with healthy options to experience these natural, cultural, and historical places in new ways.
 
Please join Wyoming Pathways in encouraging Congresswoman Liz Cheney to join her colleagues and sign onto the Active Transportation for Public Lands Act, and help it succeed to become law. You can send her a comment at her website, https://cheneyforms.house.gov/contact/

You can read the full press release below:


For Immediate Release

January 16, 2020

Mary Hurrell, (202) 225-5187, [email protected]

Rep. Huffman Introduces Bill to Invest in Active Transportation Infrastructure on Public Lands

Washington, D.C. – Today, Representative Jared Huffman (D-San Rafael) introduced the Active Transportation for Public Lands Act, a bill to address the need for safe bicycling and walking paths on federal public lands. The Active Transportation for Public Lands Act would provide new transportation options in our nation’s public lands by dedicating 5% of Federal Lands Transportation Program funds for construction of pedestrian and bicycle trails and other non-motorized transportation infrastructure.

“America’s public lands are home to some of the most beautiful vistas in the United States, including many in my own district, which encompasses the iconic California coast, wild rivers, and ancient redwoods,” said Rep. Huffman. “America’s national parks, forests, and wildlife refuges welcome millions of visitors every year, but often lack adequate infrastructure for those who want to walk or cycle through them. It’s time we invest in infrastructure that gives everyone a choice in how to visit, and travel through, America’s amazing public lands.”

Hundreds of millions of people visit public lands annually for outdoor recreation and tourism. Currently, the Federal Lands Transportation Program does not require any minimum amount of funding goes to active transportation (walking, cycling, and other non-motorized transportation). A 2018 survey report by People for Bikes found that 51% of U.S. adults want to ride more often and that 47% would be more likely to do so if bike pathways were safer.

“We have to ensure that our national parks, forests and other public lands offer safe and sustainable means of transportation and recreation. We’re proud to support the Active Transportation for Public Lands Act because it would address the growing need for safe bicycling and walking options on federal lands, allowing more visitors to fully experience our most treasured landscapes,” said PeopleForBikes COO Jenn Dice. 

“Bicycling is a great way to see our public lands, and by increasing trips taken by bike we can help reduce environmental and transportation pressures on these national treasures,” said Bill Nesper League of American Bicyclists Executive Director

“Whether hiking one of Zion National Park’s iconic wilderness trails or biking along the Crissy Field Promenade at Golden Gate National Recreational Area, millions of people explore our national parks every year,” said Theresa Pierno, President and CEO for National Parks Conservation Association. “Active transportation projects, such as adding sidewalks and expanding bicycle lanes, play a critical role in increasing accessibility and enhancing visitor experience in our parks and public lands. We commend Representative Huffman for championing legislation that provides vital funding for these projects so that all visitors can continue to experience our country’s most treasured places in a variety of ways.”

“There are many rail-trails on federal lands, but they are not necessarily connected into Active Transportation Systems. Congressman Huffman’s bill offers an exciting opportunity to maximize their value for non-motorized access to special places within our Federal Estate,” said Marianne Wesley Fowler, Sr. Strategist for Policy Advocacy for Rails to Trails Conservancy. 

“The pathways in Grand Teton National Park have become a huge success for millions of park visitors, but the 42-mile system approved in 2007 is still only half complete, due to lack of funding. The Active Transportation for Public Lands Act would help address the need for better biking and walking access in Grand Teton and public lands in every state,” said Tim Young, Wyoming Pathways Executive Director.

The bill is endorsed by the National Parks Conservation Association, the League of American Bicyclists, PeopleForBikes, Rails to Trails Conservancy, Wyoming Pathways and the International Mountain Bicycling Association.

The bill is cosponsored by Don Beyer (VA-08), Earl Blumenauer (OR-03), Julia Brownley (CA-26), Matt Cartwright (PA-08), Sean Casten (IL-06), Steve Cohen (TN-09), Diana DeGette (CO-01), John Garamendi (CA-03), Alan Lowenthal (CA-47), and Grace Napolitano (CA-32).

Full text of the legislation can be viewed here.