Barrasso, King Introduce the MAPWaters Act

October 25, 2023

Barrasso, King Introduce the MAPWaters Act

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Today, U.S. Senator John Barrasso (R-WY), ranking member of the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources, and U.S. Senator Angus King (I-ME), a member of the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources, introduced the MAPWaters Act. This legislation will standardize, consolidate, and publish the digital data related to public recreation on America’s federal waterways.

“Wyoming is home to over 108,000 miles of rivers, and countless more lakes, ponds, and streams that help create our state’s unique system of waterways. I introduced the bipartisan MAPWaters Act with Senator King to ensure the most accurate information is available to everyone who visits our federal lands. Sportsmen and women who enjoy Wyoming’s waters will benefit from access to up-to-date data of this wonderful resource,” said Senator Barrasso. 

“Maine’s unparalleled natural beauty and extraordinary public lands make our rivers, lakes and streams a true outdoor enthusiasts’ paradise,” said Senator King, Vice Chair of the Congressional Sportsmen’s Caucus. “The bipartisan MAPWaters Act will modernize and consolidate important information about federal waterways on one single user-friendly digital platform, making our nation’s outdoors more accessible to fishers, hunters and outdoor enthusiasts. This legislation will ensure that every adventurer who steps foot on public lands or navigates our waters has the opportunity to recreate safely and responsibly.”

“From the lakes and rivers of Yellowstone National Park to the boat ramps at Seedskadee National Wildlife Refuge, some of Wyoming’s most treasured public lands have federal rules for water-based recreation and fishing,” said Joy Bannon, Executive Director of the Wyoming Wildlife Federation. “WWF appreciates Senator Barrasso and Senator King for their leadership in introducing the MAPWaters Act, which will make it easier for friends and families to enjoy their best days outdoors when using public waterways.”

“Access is often cited as the number one challenge for hunter and angler participation,” said Jeff Crane, President and CEO of the Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation. “Even for something as simple as fishing or boating on federal public waters, it can be challenging to know how you can access those waters and what equipment you can use. We applaud the MAPWaters legislation as a way to remove that barrier and provide anglers and boaters with the information they need at their fingertips to get out on the water worry free.”

“Anglers, hunters, and boaters must interpret complex rules when they are out using public waterways, and the MAPWaters Act would direct federal agencies to clarify that information in geospatial form,” said Whit Fosburgh, President and CEO of the Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership. “TRCP thanks Senator Barrasso and Senator King for their leadership on this important legislation that will help people discover and enjoy new water-based recreation opportunities and keep them safe and legal.”

“Digital navigation and mapping tools connect America’s 54.5 million anglers to the outdoors, helping them discover new fishing spots,” said Mike Leonard, Vice President of Government Affairs at the American Sportfishing Association. “We thank Senator Barrasso and Senator King for introducing the MAPWaters Act, which will improve spatial information on fishing and boating regulations, as well as the locations of boat launches and access points. Standardized and digitized mapping data from federal agencies will support the software and electronics that are increasingly important to anglers.”

“Knowing where to go fishing and what you can do when you get there is basic information all anglers need for a successful day on the water. The MAPWaters Act will standardize and simplify information for anglers to access and use waters managed by federal agencies, including decontamination requirements to help prevent the spread of aquatic invasive species. We look forward to this bill becoming law and helping to better inform anglers who fish on public waters,” said Lindsay Slater, Vice President of Government Affairs, Trout Unlimited.

"Improved national mapping data from federal agencies about watercraft restrictions and fishing regulations will help outdoor enthusiasts, anglers and other water users discover and access new recreational opportunities,” said  Zachary Pope, founder of TroutRoutes, a fishing focused navigation application. “For the benefit of millions of American anglers, we support this bill and encourage Congress to advance the MAPWaters Act into law.” 

"Access to water is just as important to hunters, anglers, and other outdoor recreationists as access to land. Yet, regulations regarding water access are even more complex. Having water access information and regulations publicly available in a digital format is critical for communicating intended water use for responsible access and protecting aquatic species and their habitats. Through the MAPWaters Act, we can help empower the outdoor community to not only enjoy our nation’s vast waterways, but also recreate responsibly,” said Laura Orvidas, CEO of onX.

Click here to read the bill text.