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Off-highway Riding Restrictions May Be Lifted on 43 Million Acres

U.S. Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.), joined by other lawmakers, has introduced a bill to free up almost 43 million acres of public land that now may be off-limits to off-highway riding, the American Motorcyclist Association (AMA) reports.

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U.S. Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.), joined by other lawmakers, has introduced a bill to free up almost 43 million acres of public land that now may be off-limits to off-highway riding, the American Motorcyclist Association (AMA) reports.

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Powerful lawmakers supporting the measure include Rep. Rob Bishop (R-Utah), chairman of the House Subcommittee on National Parks, Forests and Public Lands, and Rep. Steve Pearce (R-N.M.), chairman of the Congressional Western Caucus.

"Millions of acres of land across the United States are being held under lock and key unnecessarily," McCarthy said. "My bill acts on recommendations made by the government agencies managing these lands so they are opened up for increased public use. This is just common sense.

"By opening these lands up to residents of our local communities and across the country for their use and enjoyment, we can help create jobs, boost local economies and reduce the risk of catastrophic wildfires," he said.

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The bill – H.R. 1581, the Wilderness and Roadless Area Release Act of 2011, which was introduced on April 15 and announced at a press event on April 29 – would remove the stringent use restrictions on 6.7 million acres managed by the federal Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and on 36.1 million acres of U.S. Forest Service (USFS) land that was evaluated for a strict congressional Wilderness land-use designations.

The federal agencies have determined the 43 million acres aren’t suitable for Wilderness designation, yet because of various laws and rules, they must continue to strictly manage the land until Congress "releases" it for other possible uses.

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The AMA urges all riders who want to protect and promote responsible off-highway riding to contact their federal lawmakers and ask them to support the bill.

The easiest way to contact your lawmaker is through the AMA website: AmericanMotorcyclist.com.

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