Difficulties in obtaining outfitter-guide permits on National Forests have restricted many outdoor organizations from taking people outside. As as result, fewer people are able to learn, appreciate, and experience America’s National Forests. Often times, the difficulties arise from complex and inconsistent permitting procedures.
CURRENT ISSUES IN THE OUTFITTER-GUIDE PERMITTING SYSTEM
There are numerous issues that are preventing people from experiencing National Forests with the assistance of an outfitter, guide, non-profit organization, university outdoor program, youth-serving group, veteran’s outdoor program, or outdoor camp.
- Forests are not issuing new outfitter-guide permits due to an inability to complete the necessary paperwork.
- Land managers and permit holders have to spend significant time on cumbersome application procedures and reporting requirements.
- Permit holders are often unable to introduce new uses to adapt to changing needs and demands.
- Permit seekers encounter difficulties learning about permit availability and how to apply.
THE COALITION FOR OUTDOOR ACCESS
To address these issues, a wide spectrum of outdoor organizations came together in August 2014 to form the Outdoor Access Working Group, now the Coalition for Outdoor Access (COA). The group includes small and large nonprofits, outfitters, guide services, universities, advocacy groups, and representatives of the outdoor industry.
The Coalition for Outdoor Access Steering Committee is made up of the following organizations:
- Association of Outdoor Recreation & Education (AORE)
- The Wilderness Society
- The Mountaineers
- Recreational Equipment Inc. (REI)
- American Mountain Guides Association (AMGA)
- YMCA BOLD & GOLD
- Angler’s Covey
- Outdoor Industry Association (OIA)
You can learn more about the Coalition for Outdoor Access’s platform and goals, as well as a more detailed background of this issue in this blog post by The Mountaineers.
You can read COA’s official stance and perspectives on these issue in this White Paper on Access.