Bill for Long-Distance Bike Trails Introduced in Congress
By: Noa Banayan, director of federal affairs at PeopleForBikes
The BOLT Act will help rural recreation economies plan for and meet the growing demand for bicycling as a low-cost, emissionless, and tourism-driving activity.
UPDATE: On April 28, 2023, the Committee on Natural Resources in the House of Representatives cleared the BOLT Act. We expect the bill to move to the full House for a vote in the near future, likely as part of a larger package of outdoor recreation bills.
On March 2, 2023, leaders in Congress reintroduced the Biking on Long Distance Trails (BOLT) Act (H.R. 1319/S. 605). PeopleForBikes applauds this move from a bipartisan group of recreation champions seeking to identify potential long-distance bike trails across the United States.
"The BOLT Act will help rural recreation economies plan for and meet the growing demand for bicycling as a low-cost, emissionless, and tourism-driving activity," said PeopleForBikes President and CEO Jenn Dice. "This bill proves that bike policy brings both sides of the aisle together to expand access to recreation infrastructure. We look forward to working with the bill’s sponsors, all champions for the outdoors, to advance the BOLT Act.”
The BOLT Act builds on the success and momentum of the Great American Outdoors Act of 2020 by recognizing the importance of long-distance trails to inspire backcountry discovery while supporting small rural communities. The legislation will require the Secretary of Agriculture and the Secretary of Interior to:
- Identify no less than 10 existing long-distance bike trails on federal lands in excess of 80 miles in distance
- Identify 10 areas where opportunity exists to develop or complete long-distance bike trails on federal lands in excess of 80 miles in distance
- Coordinate with stakeholders on the feasibility of completing long distance trails and the resources necessary for such projects
- Publish maps, signage, and promotional materials highlighting the positive aspects of the long-distance trail networks
- Issue a report, with input from stakeholders, outlining the details of existing and proposed long-distance trails and their promotion
PeopleForBikes continues to work closely with our advocacy partners and the bill’s sponsors to ensure the BOLT Act remains included in a larger recreation policy package. As one part of the larger America’s Outdoor Recreation Act in the 117th Congress, the full House of Representatives approved the BOLT Act and the proposal sailed through the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee.
While the larger package failed to cross the final hurdle of a full Senate vote, we anticipate broad bipartisan support will usher the BOLT Act and our other recreation policy priorities to President Biden’s desk to be signed into law. PeopleForBikes covered America’s Outdoor Recreation Act as it was moving through the legislative process last year.
Representatives Susie Lee (NV-03), Joe Neguse (CO-02), Kelly Armstrong (ND-at large), and John Curtis (UT-03) introduced the BOLT Act in the House of Representatives and Senators Ben Ray Lujan (NM), Kevin Cramer (NE), Martin Heinrich (NM), Joe Manchin (WV), and John Barrasso (WY) lead the Senate’s introduction.
You can help build support for the BOLT Act by asking your federally elected officials to cosponsor the bill (or thank them if they’re listed above) using the link below.