U.S. SENATE News:
NAMBE — U.S. Senators Ben Ray Luján (D-N.M.) and Kevin Cramer (R-N.D.) introduced the Biking On Long-Distance Trails (BOLT) Act to bolster outdoor recreation and promote biking on federal lands across the United States.
The bipartisan legislation is co-sponsored by U.S. Senators Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.), Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.), and John Barrasso (R-Wyo.).
Capitalizing on New Mexico’s 21 million acres of rich landscapes is vital to the state’s economy. In New Mexico, the outdoor recreation economy accounts for 2.2% of the state’s GDP, providing over 35,000 jobs and $1.2 billion in wages.
Nationally, the outdoor economy is rapidly growing. This is especially important for rural areas where wages are faster-growing in counties that have outdoor recreation than those that don’t.
As we continue to build our economy and utilize the vast federal lands across the United States, the BOLT Act will make bike trails more accessible and direct the Department of Interior (DOI) to:
- Identify not fewer than 10 long-distance bike trails;
- Identify not fewer than 10 areas in which there is an opportunity to develop or complete long-distance bike trials;
- Allow the DOI to publish and distribute maps, install signage, and issue promotional materials;
- Publish a report that lists the trails developed under this legislation.
“In New Mexico and across America, there are millions of acres of federal lands that have gone untapped for responsible outdoor recreation use. This bipartisan legislation will make bike trails more accessible and safer across America and will provide a much-needed boost to the growing outdoor recreation economy,” Luján said. “I have always enjoyed getting out on my mountain bike to explore New Mexico’s beautiful landscapes, and this legislation will make those outdoor spaces more accessible to Americans across the country.”
“The longest continuous single track mountain bike trail in the U.S. is lucky to call North Dakota home. As the former North Dakota Tourism Director, I know the Maah Daah Hey and other bike trails provide enriching recreational experiences and economic opportunities for our communities. Our bill identifies long-distance bike trails on public lands for all to enjoy,” Cramer said.
“Mountain biking has grown in popularity over the last decade, most notably during the pandemic, and we at the International Mountain Bicycling Association applaud Senator Ben Ray Luján from New Mexico and Senator Kevin Cramer from North Dakota for recognizing the importance of outdoor recreation and introducing the bipartisan Biking on Long Distance Trails (BOLT) Act. Now is the time to invest in our outdoor recreation infrastructure by providing pathways to positive physical and mental health and creating jobs in the outdoor economy,” said Executive Director Dave Wiens of the International Mountain Bicycling Association.
“We are proud to support Senator Luján and our partners at the International Mountain Bicycling Association as the Senator introduces the BOLT Act. In the past few years more and more people have become aware of the amazing physical, mental, and economic benefits of cycling–specifically bike touring. By providing language to help support existing trails and enact new initiatives, we believe the BOLT Act will result in more opportunities for riders and communities to experience long distance routes,” said President Kyle Klain of Santa Fe Fat Tire Society.
Full text of the legislation is available HERE.