WASHINGTON – Senator Maggie Hassan (D-NH) has co-sponsored bipartisan legislation, led by Senator Catherine Cortez Masto (D-NV) and Senator Steve Daines (R-MT), to create an intergovernmental task force to identify opportunities to expand veterans' access to and use of public lands for outdoor therapy and rehabilitation treatments.
"We know that too many of our men and women in uniform come home and suffer from PTSD or other mental and physical illnesses -- and we also know that outdoor therapy and activities can be a real help," Senator Hassan said. "Especially given the natural beauty we have here in New Hampshire, we should be doing everything we can to ensure that our veterans have full access to public lands that can aid in their recovery.”
The bipartisan Accelerating Veterans Recovery Outdoors Act establishes an inter-agency task force, co-chaired by the Secretary of Veterans Affairs and the Secretary of the Interior. This task force would also include the Secretaries of Health and Human Services, Agriculture, Defense, and Homeland Security, as well as the Chief of the Army Corps of Engineers. The task force would seek to better utilize public lands for the rehabilitation and therapy of veterans and to identify existing barriers that prevent veterans from more broadly utilizing outdoor recreation for medical treatment.
This legislation is supported by numerous outdoor recreation and veterans advocacy groups, including the American Legion, Paralyzed Veterans of America, Veterans of Foreign Wars, Disabled American Veterans, Minority Veterans of America, Blue Star Families, Vet Voice Foundation, PeopleForBikes, National Parks Conservation Association, Outdoor Industry Association, Outdoor Alliance, Outdoor Research, Adventure Not War, and the REI Co-op.