Outdoor Alliance proposes legislation to create long-distance, nationwide bike trails

The Biking on Long Distance Trails Act (BOLT Act), if passed, will require lawmakers to identify and create at least 10 bike trails that are at least 80 miles long, nationwide.

Male cyclist riding off-road
(Image credit: Future)

Legislation that focuses on building long-distance bike trails? Say no more - we're in. 

That's just what the Biking on Long Distance Trails or BOLT Act proposes, which aims to identify and create at least ten long-distance bike trails nationwide.

The BOLT Act is part of a larger piece of proposed legislation in the U.S. House about public lands called the Expanding Public Lands Outdoor Recreation Experience, or EXPLORE Act. Multiple House and Senate Committees have already approved the BOLT Act and is now ready to be voted on in the House as part of the larger EXPLORE Act.

The EXPLORE Act was introduced by Outdoor Alliance, a non-profit that "works on behalf of the human-powered outdoor recreation community to protect public lands and waters," according to the organization.

The EXPLORE Act contains multiple more minor acts, such as the BOLT Act that focus on improving experiences in the United States' outdoor public lands, specifically focusing on conserving public lands and protecting the waters that flow through them. 

"Millions of Americans get outside each year, and the EXPLORE Act will improve management for climbing and mountain biking, enhance how agencies manage outdoor recreation and invest in parks where they are needed most with the Outdoor Recreation Legacy Partnership," said Louis Geltman, VP of Policy and Government Relations at the Outdoor Alliance.

The BOLT Act, if passed, will require lawmakers to:

  • Identify at least 10 existing long-distance bike trails on federal lands that extend for longer than 80 miles
  • Identify at least 10 areas where it is possible to develop or complete long-distance bike trails of a distance longer than 80 miles
  • Coordinate with appropriate stakeholders on the feasibility of completing the trails, including sourcing the resources necessary for the projects
  • Publish maps, signage and educational and promotional materials to promote the trails
  • Issue a report that outlines the existing and proposed long-distance trails and how they will be promoted across communities

 In addition to the BOLT Act, the EXPLORE Act contains four other proposed pieces of legislation:

  • The Protecting America’s Rock Climbing Act (PARC), which aims at safeguarding wildness climbing and educating the public around safe and sustainable climbing best practices.
  • The Simplifying Outdoor Access for Recreation Act (SOAR), which will streamline recreational permitting for outdoors outfitters and guides.
  • Making the Federal Interagency Council on Outdoor Recreation (FICOR) a permanent council whose role is to help land managers coordinate and focus on improving access to nature and expanding outdoor recreation opportunities. 
  • Making the Outdoor Recreation Legacy Partnership (ORLP) permanent, which provides grant funding for urban areas - especially economically disadvantaged ones - to develop green spaces and outdoor access. 

 You can help support the EXPLORE and BOLT Acts by using Outdoor Alliance’s quick-action form, which allows you to send a personalized digital letter to your lawmakers, encouraging them to support the EXPLORE Act package.

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