WASHINGTON – U.S. Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke today applauded President Donald J. Trump’s exemption from Executive Order 13658 for Recreational Services on Federal Lands. The Presidential exemption applies only to outfitters and guides who operate on Federal lands and does not apply to lodging, food service, or other businesses that operate on Federal lands, such as national parks, monuments, recreation areas, and other areas. The order was signed ahead of Memorial Day weekend, which is the unofficial start to peak season for many guides and outfitters.
“President Donald J. Trump is a businessman and a job creator who knows that government one-size-fits-all approaches usually end up fitting nobody. The President’s Executive Order, ‘Exemption from Executive Order 13658 for Recreational Services on Federal Lands,’ gives more flexibility to small guides and outfitters that operate in National Parks and other public lands,” said Secretary Zinke. “The order will have a positive effect on rural economies and American families, allowing guides and outfitters to bring tourists out on multi-day hiking, fishing, hunting, and camping expeditions, without enduring costly burdens. The outdoor recreation sector is a multi-billion dollar economic engine, and the more people able to enjoy our public lands, the better.”
“Our sincere appreciation to President Trump and Secretary Zinke for this job-saving action. Because we are in the backcountry 24/7 and on duty much or all of that time, E.O. 13658 was ill-conceived for businesses who cannot bring on a second or third shift to control overtime,” said David Brown, Vice President, America Outdoors Association, a national association of outfitters and guides.
Outdoor recreation accounted for 2-percent of the United States economy, or $373.7 billion, in 2016, according to the Bureau of Economic Analysis. Of that, $59.4 billion in activity is attributed to recreational vehicles, motorcycle, and motorized recreation enthusiasts. More than $38 billion is generated from fishing and boating. Hunting, shooting, and trapping contributes more than $15 billion to the economy. In all, more than 4 million people are employed in industries related to outdoor recreation.
“Today’s action by President Trump and Secretary Zinke removed what was an impossible compliance issue and therefore a monumental liability for the nations Guides and Outfitters. Attending to the health safety and welfare of clients on an outfitted trip begins at the trailhead and ends days later when everyone has safely returned; compliance with time accounting measures required by E.O. 13658 was impossible in this work environment,” said Mac Minard, Executive Director of the Montana Outfitters and Guides Association and Chairman of the Professional Outfitters and Guides of America. “On behalf of the 5,000 Outfitter businesses represented by the Professional Outfitters and Guides of America we offer our appreciation for the leadership of Secretary Zinke and the action of President Donald Trump. Because of this action, thousands will be able to enjoy and experience the natural wonders found in our National Treasures that are our Federal Public Lands.”
“Fishing guides play a significant role in ensuring Americans have opportunities to enjoy our nation’s tremendous fisheries resources, and in helping to support recreational fishing’s $115 billion economic impact,” said Glenn Hughes, President of the American Sportfishing Association. “We applaud President Trump for ensuring these services are not subject to harmful and unnecessary regulations, and for his continued leadership in support of the entire outdoor recreation community.”
National Parks are major economic engines for local communities that generate around $36 billion in economic output and are responsible for $18 billion in visitor spending. Many parks support outfitter and guide operations for guided hikes, river trips, and other expeditions. Some recreational opportunities at national parks, especially in backcountry areas, require planning, experience, and special equipment. Authorized guides and outfitters make it possible for park visitors who do not have these resources or skills to enjoy activities like horseback riding, river rafting, or snowmobile tours in some of the more remote and scenic areas of national parks.
The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) oversees 16 National Conservation Areas, like Red Rock Canyon in Las Vegas, 27 National Monuments, and other public lands like California’s 18-acre Piedras Blancas Light Station Outstanding Natural Area. In 2017, BLM lands received more than 67.4 million recreation-related visits. In 2017, the BLM issued commercial permits to more than 1,000 outfitters and guides.