Right To Ride Update 4-22-04
To: AHC Organizations
From: Alicia Cunningham
Re: Radanovich Legislation Passes in National Parks,
Recreation and Public Lands Subcommittee
Date: April 22, 2004
H.R. 2966, the Right to Ride bill, passed today by voice vote in the House of Representatives Subcommittee on National Parks, Recreation and Public Lands. The American Horse Council supports this legislation that will now be taken up by the full House Resources Committee with another possible hearing in the next few weeks.
To mediate concerns regarding the bill, some changes were made to the original legislation. Language was added that stated that H.R. 2966 did not give priority or precedence over other multiple users. In addition, language was also included which stated that the Secretary of Interior and the Secretary of Agriculture would retain the authority to issue Special Use Permits as well as continue to authorize emergency closures.
It is important to note that both Representatives Donna Christian-Christensen (D-Virgin Islands), Ranking Member of the House of Representatives Subcommittee on National Parks, Recreation and Public Lands and Nick Rahall (D-WV), Ranking Member of the House Resources Committee, have expressed opposition to the legislation.
H.R. 2966, known as the "Right to Ride Bill," applies to all federal lands managed by the National Park Service, the Bureau of Land Management, the United States Fish and Wildlife Service and the U.S. Forest Service.
Specifically the legislation mandates that the lands should be managed by the federal agencies "to preserve and facilitate the continued use and access of pack and saddle stock animals on such lands, including wilderness areas, national monuments, and other specifically designated areas, where there is a historical tradition of such use."
In addition, the legislation requires that "as a general rule, all trails, routes, and areas used by pack and saddle stock shall remain open and accessible for such use."
In introducing the bill, Representative Radanovich stated that he wanted to preserve the tradition of horses in American culture. "Riding livestock is a great way to explore and experience our federal lands", he said, "and we must preserve our riding heritage. Unfortunately, livestock use is under fire from national environmental fund-raising organizations who seek to restrict access to federal lands."