March 14, 2023

Cortez Masto Leads Legislation to Expand Access to Nevada Public Lands

Washington D.C. – Today, Senator Catherine Cortez Masto (D-NV), a member of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, introduced the Environmental Justice in Recreation Permitting Act to help underserved community groups access and enjoy Nevada’s public lands for outdoor recreation.

“Nevada’s vast public lands should be available to every Nevadan, and I’m working to make it easier for small organizations and minority-owned recreation businesses to benefit from the beautiful outdoor spaces across the Silver State,” said Senator Cortez Masto. “The purpose of this legislation is to increase accessibility and decrease red tape for guides, outfitters, and outdoor recreation groups to get the permits they need to participate in our outdoor recreation economy.”

Senator Cortez Masto’s Environmental Justice in Recreation Permitting would address the barriers that minority-owned businesses face when accessing our public lands recreation permitting system and work to address the challenges this burdensome process poses for communities of color, low-income communities, and Tribal and indigenous communities. The report will highlight ways to improve the permitting process to ensure that outdoor recreation groups serving diverse communities can easily access our nation’s public lands.

“The need for Latinos to breathe fresh air and enjoy time outdoors is greater than ever,” said Shanna Edberg, Director of Conservation at Hispanic Access Foundation. “We applaud Senator Cortez Masto’s proposed steps to provide more avenues for environmental justice communities to recreate outdoors, connect with nature, and spend time with their loved ones.”

“Outfitters, guides and other outdoor leaders provide people with great recreation experiences on America’s public lands,” said Paul Sanford, Director of Policy Analysis for The Wilderness Society. “This legislation will help us ensure these experiences are available to everyone, including Tribal and Indigenous communities, low-income families, and people of color. We thank Senator Cortez Masto for her leadership in introducing this legislation, and for moving us one step closer to the day when everyone feels welcomed and included in the outdoor experience.”

“Simplifying the permitting process for public lands and cutting regulatory red tape will eliminate barriers to outdoor recreation, support local businesses, and bring meaningful economic opportunities to thousands of communities,” said Kent Ebersole, Interim Executive Director of Outdoor Industry Association. “This important legislation would provide an important path to ensure Americans from all walks of life, especially those in underserved communities, can prosper from the mental and physical benefits of the outdoors. We commend Senator Cortez Masto for leading the charge.”

Senator Cortez Masto has been a champion for Nevada’s great outdoor spaces and ensuring equitable access to federal resources for all, including communities of color. She passed critical legislation to permanently fund the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF), which protects public lands in Nevada and across the country. She introduced bipartisan, bicameral legislation to restore Lake Tahoe, and she delivered critical funding to protect Lake Tahoe in the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law. She also helped pass the historic Great American Outdoors Act, which was signed into law and provides robust funding to preserve and maintain public lands across the country.