12.06.20

Daines' Bipartisan Bill Promoting Veteran Outdoor Recovery Programs Signed into Law

Bill will utilize the outdoors to help veterans with medical treatment and therapy

U.S. SENATE — Today, U.S. Senator Steve Daines' bipartisan bill that promotes outdoor veteran recovery programs and expands outdoor recreational opportunities for veterans on public lands was signed into law. The “Accelerating Veterans Recovery Outdoors Act” will help create treatment and therapy opportunities for veterans on public lands and outdoor spaces.

“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," 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.”

Daines' bipartisan bill requires the 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.

Daines' bipartisan bill has significant support from stakeholders.

“At Vista Outdoor, we are committed to getting people of all ages, backgrounds, and professions outdoors. Those who have served our nation in uniform deserve all the benefits that the outdoors has to offer. We see this legislation as a critical first step to prioritizing outdoor activities for the treatment of veterans on our federal lands. With more than 20 million veterans and over 660 million acres of federal land, this legislation is a smart policy match and we support it wholeheartedly.” - Fred Ferguson, Vice President of Public Affairs, Vista Outdoors

“The COMPACT Act (formerly Accelerating Veterans Recovery Outdoors Act) is an important step toward connecting more veterans with outdoor recreation on public lands and honoring our commitment to caring for our nation’s veterans when they return home. This legislation will help more veterans experience the outdoors and further connect outdoor recreation to their health and wellness. We applaud the leaders of this important legislation on its passage and look forward to working with them on continued support of our veterans.” - Lise Aangeenbrug, Executive Director, Outdoor Industry Association

“Our veterans deserve the best care possible, including appropriate doses of time in nature and the outdoors. As an ever-expanding body of evidence demonstrates, there is a direct connection between regular opportunities for recreating in nature and improvements in vets’ physical and mental wellbeing.  At REI, we are confident that the Access to Veterans Recovery Outdoors Act, paired with research being done around the country, can create more pathways for veterans to heal. We especially appreciate the leadership of those who led this important legislation and their commitment to removing barriers to connect veterans to nature as a form of healing.” - Taldi Harrison, Government Affairs Manager, REI

“The Access to Veterans Recovery Outdoors Act will connect America’s veterans to the many health benefits that come with outdoor recreation. Our public lands and waters are an important venue to provide veterans with innovative opportunities to recover and heal.  This legislation will bring government stakeholders together around a unified mission to connect more veterans to the outdoors. This important bill wouldn’t have been possible without the leadership of those who introduced it and the coalition who supported it. Thanks to them, our veterans will have more opportunities outdoors.” - Jessica Turner, Executive Director, Outdoor Recreation Roundtable

“There's healing power in bicycling and outdoor recreation for mental and physical health. Senators Daines and Cortez Masto's legislation leverages the great outdoors to help with veterans' recovery close to home. 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.” - Jenn Dice, CEO, PeopleForBikes