For many people, the first time they hike a scenic trail, float a pristine river, fish for an elusive trout, or bike a challenging single track is with the help of an outfitter, guide, volunteer-based club, university outdoor program, or non-profit outdoor organization.

These organized groups connect adults, youth, underrepresented communities, and people from all walks of life to the outdoors. They also make sure outdoor experiences are enjoyable and safe, they promote stewardship of the environment, and they help people make meaningful connections with America’s public lands and waters.

In order to provide these valuable experiences, outdoor recreation service providers are required to have a special recreation permit from the land management agency. Unfortunately, the current process for administering special recreation permits is not flexible enough to accommodate evolving uses of public lands and waters by a wide range of user groups. This is unnecessarily restricting opportunities for people to enjoy public lands, it is limiting outdoor recreation job growth, and it is stifling the economic vitality of rural communities that depend upon recreation tourism.

In an effort to address these issues and improve access to the outdoors, a committed group of outdoor industry leaders have established the Coalition for Outdoor Access (formerly the Outdoor Access Working Group).


The Coalition for Outdoor Access advocates for laws and policies that support and encourage guided outdoor recreation and education activities on public lands and waters. COA’s approach is inclusive of the needs of all stakeholders and respects the obligations of the land and water management agencies. The Coalition for Outdoor Access develops its policy positions through mutual education, transparency in process, and robust communication with stakeholders and the agencies.


COA serves as a conduit for communication between outdoor recreation service providers in local communities and agency decision makers at the federal level. In this capacity, COA helps to elevate issues of importance to the facilitated outdoor recreation industry and brings stakeholders together to identify and implement solutions.


Click on the document link to review or download a PDF:

  • Comments on House Subcommittee on National Parks, Forests, and Public Lands Legislative Hearing on the Simplifying Outdoor Access for Recreation Act and the Recreation Not Red Tape Act, September 2019 Review PDF »
  • Comments on Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources Full Committee Hearing to Examine Opportunities to Improve Access, Infrastructure, and Permitting for Outdoor Recreation, March 2019 Review PDF »
  • Comments on U.S. Department of the Interior Secretarial Order 3366, June 2018 Review PDF »
  • Comments on United States Forest Service (USFS) Advanced Notice of Proposed Rulemaking on National Environmental Policy Act Compliance, January 2018 Review PDF »
  • Comments on National Park Service Proposed Fee Increases at National Parks to Address Maintenance Backlog, November 2017 Review PDF »
  • Comments on U.S. Department of the Interior Secretarial Order 3356, October 2017 Review PDF »
  • Policy recommendations for improvements in the outfitter-guide permitting system, Spring 2016 Review PDF »
  • White paper on challenges in the outfitter-guide permitting system, Spring 2015 Review PDF »