President Donald Trump on Saturday signed into law a bipartisan bill that included legislation introduced by U.S. Sen. Steve Daines (R-MT) that will make it easier for U.S. military veterans to use the outdoors as part of their medical treatment and therapy.
“The outdoors is critical to our Montana way of life and can help Montana veterans who are recovering from trauma and injuries they experienced in combat,” Sen. Daines said. “That’s why I’m glad my bipartisan bill promoting recovery and treatment programs on public lands for the benefit of Montana veterans has been signed into law.”
The Accelerating Veterans Recovery Outdoors Act, which Sen. Daines supported to promote outdoor recovery programs and expanded outdoor recreational opportunities on public lands for veterans, became law as part of the Veterans COMPACT Act of 2020, H.R. 8247.
Sen. Daines’ bill requires the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs to establish a task force on outdoor recreation for veterans to report on and make recommendations regarding the use of public lands or other outdoor spaces for medical treatment and therapy for veterans.
The bill garnered support from several stakeholders, including Fred Ferguson, vice president of public affairs at Vista Outdoors; Lise Aangeenbrug, executive director at the Outdoor Industry Association; Taldi Harrison, government affairs manager at REI; and Jessica Turner, executive director at the Outdoor Recreation Roundtable, among others.
“Our nation’s veterans deserve the best care available, and finding new opportunities to take advantage of public lands, parks and trails for better health is something we should all welcome,” said Jenn Dice, CEO of PeopleForBikes.