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Let’s Gooooo! House Passes EXPLORE Act



Image by Nirajha/Wikimedia

This land is your land, this land is my land …

The U.S. House of Representatives passed the Expanding Public Lands Outdoor Recreation Experiences (EXPLORE) Act on a voice vote, demonstrating the bipartisan nature of outdoor recreation and the importance of public land access to all Americans. The bill addresses several pressing issues for federal land managers and is the result of a years-long effort to increase outdoor recreation opportunities nationwide.

Importantly, this omnibus outdoor recreation legislation includes the Federal Interior Land Media (FILM) and Cape and Antler Preservation Enhancement (CAPE) Acts, which the Wild Sheep Foundation helped develop and support with several of its partners.

“The Wild Sheep Foundation applauds the House for their resounding passage of the EXPLORE Act and their support for increasing access to our public lands,” said WSF President and CEO Gray N. Thornton. “The current permitting system for making films on our federal public lands is built for those making feature films with large crews, but most filmmakers in our industry are using small, low-impact teams. The CAPE Act is an affirmation that sportsmen and hunting remain vital tools in wildlife management.”

The FILM Act clarifies and streamlines regulations for filming on federal public lands, aligning the permitting process with modern technology. This legislation exempts small-scale operations from the permitting process, so outdoor video and filmmakers can promote our public lands and Fair Chase hunting without being dragged down by a process built for big Hollywood productions.

The CAPE Act will allow qualified volunteers greater flexibility in using the cape, antlers, skull, and meat of non-native animals removed from National Parks under the Service’s supervision. It is intended to help the National Park Service recruit additional qualified volunteers to conduct necessary wildlife management activities, like those who took to the slopes to remove non-native mountain goats in Grand Teton National Park.

Thornton added, “We sincerely appreciate Chairman Bruce Westerman and Ranking Member Raul Grijalva’s bipartisan leadership on this package of legislation and their inclusion of the FILM and CAPE Acts. I also thank two of our film partners, Jason Matzinger and Randy Newberg, for their insights and experiences in helping shape the need for the FILM Act. We look forward to seeing this important legislation become law and urge the Senate to take up this bill in short order.”

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