March 24, 2021
WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senators Angus King (I-Maine) and Jim Risch (R-Idaho) have introduced bipartisan legislation to digitize public land mapping records to enable greater outdoor recreation and improve hunting and fishing access for sportsmen and women. The Modernizing Access to our Public Land (MAPLand) Act will enhance access to the nation’s outdoor recreational opportunities by digitizing and standardizing mapping information like access points and permissible uses on federal public lands. The legislation is also cosponsored by Senator Susan Collins (R-Maine).
“As the coronavirus has drastically transformed life over the past year, more and more Americans have turned to outdoor exploration as a way to care for both their physical and mental health,” said Senator King. “As our nation’s hunters, fishermen, and adventurers set out to explore our beautiful public lands, it is crucial that they are properly equipped to recreate safely. Our bipartisan bill would use the latest mapping technology to help all Americans access and enjoy the great outdoors that surrounds us. I’m proud to lead this bipartisan effort which will encourage exploration, promote safety, and support local economies for communities that count outdoor recreation as one of their major industries.”
“Digitizing America’s public land records and making them available online is not only commonsense and overdue, it will make recreating on our public lands infinitely easier,” said Senator Risch. “With the MAPLand Act, hunters, anglers, and outdoorsmen and women can fully enjoy the best of what Idaho’s vast public lands have to offer.”
In addition to Senators Risch, King, and Collins, the legislation is cosponsored by U.S. Senators Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.), John Barrasso (R-Wyo.), Mike Crapo (R-Idaho), Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.), Steve Daines (R-Mont.), and Mark Kelly (D-Ariz.).
A member of the Energy and Natural Resources and Chairman of the Subcommittee on National Parks, Senator King is among the Senate’s loudest voices advocating for public lands and encouraging outdoor recreation. He was recently awarded the inaugural National Park Foundation (NPF) “Hero” Award. Senator King helped lead the passage the Great American Outdoors Act (GAOA) into law; the legislation includes the Restore Our Parks Act – a bill led by Senator King – and the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) Permanent Funding Act. The legislative package is among the most impactful conservation laws enacted in the last century and continues Senator King’s career-long focus on conservation efforts, dating back to his work prior to running for elected office through his years as Governor and his service in the Senate.