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Oregon Bill Aims To Cut Red Tape From Recreational Permit Process

Last summer, Democratic U.S. Sen. Ron Wyden visited the seven natural wonders of Oregon, which include Crater Lake and Mount Hood.

What he heard again and again, he said, were stories of people trying to get outdoors but being stymied by government bureaucracy.

“We heard that people were getting up at 6 a.m. to wait in line in effect to wait again for the prospect of getting a permit,” Wyden said.

Wyden said he’s got a list of fixes for Oregon’s public lands red tape, and he’ll be talking to politicians from other states to try and generate momentum for the Recreation Not Red-Tape Act.

Sponsored by Wyden and Rep. Earl Blumenauer, the bill aims to simplify the permitting process for recreation guides and visitors. It also focuses on getting more Americans outdoors by providing free passes to schools serving low-income students and increasing volunteering opportunities on public lands for people age 55 and over.

Chad Brown, who runs a nonprofit that takes vets and inner city kids out fly fishing, loves the idea, "You know, the outdoors is a healing ground. It’s a natural medicine for all of us.”

The bill is supported by more than 50 outdoor industry groups, according to Wyden's office.

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<p>Chad Brown of the non-profit Soul River, says breaking down barriers to recreating on public lands is important.</p>

Kristian Foden-Vencil/OPB News

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Chad Brown of the non-profit Soul River, says breaking down barriers to recreating on public lands is important.

Kristian Foden-Vencil is a reporter and producer for Oregon Public Broadcasting. He specializes in health care, business, politics, law and public safety.