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Congress to Hold Hearing on Bill That Supports Greater Access to Public Lands

On July 26, 2011, the Subcommittee on National Parks, Forests and Public Lands, chaired by Rep. Rob Bishop (R-UT), will hold a hearing on H.R. 1581, the “Wilderness and Roadless Area Release Act of 2011.” This bill would remove restrictions to motorized access on more than 40 million acres of public land nationwide.

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On July 26, 2011, the Subcommittee on National Parks, Forests and Public Lands, chaired by Rep. Rob Bishop (R-UT), will hold a hearing on H.R. 1581, the "Wilderness and Roadless Area Release Act of 2011." This bill would remove restrictions to motorized access on more than 40 million acres of public land nationwide.

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These bills would remove the riding ban on 6.7 million acres managed by the federal Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and riding restrictions that may be in place for 36.1 million acres of U.S. Forest Service (USFS) land.

Specifically, these bills would "release" all Wilderness Study Areas (WSAs) controlled by the BLM and Inventoried Roadless Areas (IRAs) managed by the USFS that have been determined by land managers to be unsuitable for congressional Wilderness land-use designations. Motorized recreation is banned on Wilderness land.

The AMA and ATVA support appropriate Wilderness designations that meet the criteria established by the Wilderness Act of 1964. A Wilderness designation is one of the strictest forms of public land management. Once Congress designates an area as Wilderness, nearly all forms of non-pedestrian recreation are prohibited. For years, anti-access groups have used WSAs and other tactics to inappropriately keep responsible riders off public land that is well-suited for motorized recreation.

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To view a live webcast of the hearing scheduled for July 26 at 10 a.m. EDT, visit http://naturalresources.house.gov/Live.

The AMA and ATVA is asking dealers and enthusiasts to contact their members of Congress to urge them to become a cosponsor to H.R. 1581/S. 1087, the "Wilderness and Roadless Area Release Act of 2011."

For more information about the American Motorcyclist Association, visit www.americanmotorcyclist.com.

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