Bureau of Reclamation Pertinent Recreation - Related Legislation, Code of Federal Regulations, and Executive Orders

Legislation, Code of Federal Regulations, and Executive Orders

The basis for conducting recreation activities on Bureau of Reclamation (Reclamation) land and water areas comes from a variety of sources, including:

  • Original Reclamation authorizing legislation that included recreation as a project purpose
  • Subsequent recreation-related legislation at an existing Reclamation project
  • General legislation that applies to Reclamation and some of the other Federal land management agencies  
  • Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) and Executive Orders (EO) that, in some instances, apply specifically to Reclamation or in some instances multiple Federal agencies



Colorado River Storage Project (CRSP) of 1956, Public Law 84-485, 70 Stat. 105:  Public Law 84-485, more specifically Section 8, authorizes and directs the Secretary of the Interior to investigate, plan, develop, operate, and maintain public recreation facilities at all CRSP projects and participating projects such as the Central Utah Project.

Fryingpan-Arkansas Act of 1962, Public Law 87-590, 77 Stat. 393:  Public
Law 87-90, more specifically Section 4, authorizes the Secretary of the Interior to (1) investigate, plan, construct, operate, and maintain public recreational facilities on lands withdrawn or acquired for the development of said project, (2) to conserve the scenery, the natural, historic and archeologic objects, and the wildlife on said lands, (3) to provide for public use and enjoyment of said land and water areas and, (4) to investigate, plan, construct, operate, and maintain facilities for the conservation and development of fish and wildlife resources.

Auburn-Folsom South Unit, Central Valley Project of 1965, Public Law 89-161, 79 Stat. 615:  Public Law 89-161, more specifically Section 3, authorizes the Secretary of the Interior to (1) construct, operate, and maintain or provide for public outdoor recreation and fish and wildlife enhancement facilities, (2) to acquire, or otherwise, to include within the unit area such adjacent lands or interests in land as are necessary for present or future public recreation or fish and wildlife use, (3) to allocate water and reservoir capacity to recreation or fish and wildlife enhancement and, (4) to provide for public use and enjoyment of unit lands, facilities, and water areas in a manner coordinated with other unit purposes.

Colorado River Basin Project Act of 1968, Public Law 90-537, 82 Stat. 885:  
Public Law 90-537, which includes the Central Arizona Project, provides Reclamation with direct authority to, among other things, enhance recreation opportunities on lands covered by the project.


Recreation Facilities, Elephant Butte and Caballo Reservoirs Act of 1962, Public Law 87-542, 76 Stat. 171:  Public Law 87-542 provides Reclamation with direct authority to investigate, plan, construct, operate, and maintain basic recreation facilities at Elephant Butte and Caballo Reservoirs as part of the Rio Grande Project, New Mexico.  This includes providing access roads and facilities for safety, health, and protection of the visiting public, and provide for the public use and enjoyment of such recreation facilities and water areas.

Recreation Development, Sanford Reservoir Act of 1964, Public Law 88-536, 78 Stat. 744:  Public Law 88-536 provides Reclamation with direct authority to investigate, plan, construct, operate, and maintain basic recreation facilities at Sanford Reservoir as part of the Canadian River Project, Texas.

Federal Water Project Recreation Act of 1965, Public Law 89-72, 79 Stat. 213:  Although this legislation also applies to the Corps of Engineers and the Tennessee Valley Authority, it is listed in this section because it is Reclamation’s most commonly used recreation-related legislation and it is not considered to be project specific.  Public Law 89-72 allows Reclamation to seek qualified non-Federal government partners to manage recreation at its water projects through a management agreement and to cost share in planning, developing, operating, and maintaining the leased areas.  Public Law 89-72 also allows Reclamation to transfer recreation and other land management responsibilities to another Federal agency if such lands are included or proposed for inclusion within a national recreation area, or are appropriate for administration by another Federal agency as part of the national forest system, as a part of the public lands classified for retention in Federal ownership, or in connection with an authorized Federal program for the conservation and development of fish and wildlife.

Note:  Prior to passage of Public Law 89-72, authorization for recreational development at Reclamation projects would have had to be included in the project authorizing legislation or approved by subsequent legislation.  In some cases, construction is accomplished under a specific project authorization and management is done under Public Law 89-72.  In addition, if a project does not have specific recreation authority, Reclamation is limited to providing only “limited basic” recreation facilities that are required to protect the health and safety of the general public.

Reclamation Development Act of 1974, Public Law 93-493, 88 Stat. 1486, Title VI:
Public Law 93-493 authorizes Reclamation to investigate, plan, construct, operate, and maintain such short term public outdoor recreation facilities and opportunities that are necessary for the safety, health, protection, and outdoor recreation use of the visiting public at Lake Berryessa as part of the Solano Project, California.

Authorization and Adjustment Act of 1992, Public Law 102-575, 106 Stat. 4690, Title XXVIII (Reclamation Recreation Management Act):  Due to the increases in the public demand for outdoor recreation and the changes in the economic climate for Reclamation’s non-Federal managing partners, Public Law 89-72 was amended by Title XXVIII of Public Law 102-575.  Title XXVIII, among other things, updated the old provisions and changed some of the cost share requirements of Public Law 89-72 to allow the Federal Government to share a greater financial burden for recreation development and management.

Omnibus Consolidated Appropriations Act of 1998, Public Law 105-277, 112 Stat. 2681, Title X (Canyon Ferry Reservoir, Montana):  As part of the Canyon Ferry Unit of the Pick-Sloan Missouri Basin Program, Public Law 105-277 provides Reclamation with direct authority to investigate, plan, develop, operate, and maintain recreation facilities on land withdrawn or acquired for development of the project; to conserve the scenery, the natural historic, paleontologic and archaeologic objects, and the wildlife on the land; to provide for public use and enjoyment of the land and water areas of the project; and to investigate, plan, construct, operate, and maintain facilities for the conservation of fish and wildlife resources.

Law Enforcement Authority at Bureau of Reclamation of 2001, Public Law 107-69, 115 Stat. 593:  Public Law 107-69 amended the Reclamation Recreation Management Act of 1992 in order to provide for the security of dams, facilities, and resources under the jurisdiction of Reclamation.



Economy Act of 1932, as amended, Public Law 97-258 and 98-216, 31 USC 1535:  Public Laws 97-258 and 98-216 authorize an agency to place orders for goods and services with another government agency when the head of an agency determines that it is in the best interest of the government and decides ordered goods and services cannot be provided as conveniently or cheaply by contract with a commercial enterprise.

Conservation of Wildlife, Fish and Game Act of 1934, Public Law 73-121, 48 Stat. 401:  Public Law 73-121 recognizes the public’s desire to hunt and fish.

Fish and Wildlife Coordination Act of 1946, Public Law 79-732, 60 Stat. 1080:   Public Law 79-732 authorizes agencies of the U.S. Department of the Interior to provide “… … public shooting and fishing areas … … and development and improvement thereof in connection with such resource development.”

Water Resources Planning Act of 1965, Public Law 89-80, 79 Stat. 244:  Public Law 89-80 establishes the President’s Water Resources Council to guide water resources development and assign benefits on full recreation development for proposed projects.

Wild and Scenic Rivers Act of 1968, Public Law 90-542, 82 Stat. 906:  Public
Law 90-542 declares a national policy that selected rivers that possess outstanding scenic, recreational, geologic, fish and wildlife, historic, cultural, or other similar values shall be preserved in a free flowing condition.  The law additionally declares that the established national policy of dam and other construction at appropriate sections of the rivers of the United States need to be complemented by a policy that would preserve the free flowing condition of certain selected rivers or sections thereof.

An Act to Authorize Acquisition or Use of Public Lands by States, Counties, or Municipalities for Recreational Purposes of 1984, Public Law 98-552, 98 Stat. 2823:  Public Law 98-552 authorizes the Secretary of the Interior to cooperate with State regulatory or enforcement officials to enforce State resource protection laws on Federal lands, including reimbursement of State expenditures for resource protection and administration, if necessary.

Omnibus Parks and Public Land Management Act of 1996, Public Law 104-333, 110 Stat. 4093:  Public Law 104-333 establishes a commission to consider, review, evaluate, and recommend legislative opportunities for enhanced water-based recreation for public use.
Federal Lands Recreation Enhancement Act of 2004, Public Law 108-447, 118 Stat. 3378:  Public Law 108-447 authorizes the U.S. Forest Service, National Park Service, Bureau of Land Management, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and Reclamation to charge fees at Federal recreation sites that meet certain criteria and to reinvest a majority of the collected revenues into enhancing the site where the fees were collected.



43 CFR part 21, Occupancy of Cabin Sites on Public Conservation and Recreation Areas (1967):  43 CFR part 21 establishes when, and by what standards, use of conservation and recreation areas under private cabin permits must be modified or discontinued so as to allow the public use of such areas, and the procedures for renewing, extending, phasing out, or terminating private cabin permits.

43 CFR part 24, Department of the Interior Fish and Wildlife Policy (1983):  43 CFR part 24 states that Federal agencies of the U.S. Department of the Interior shall provide for public use of Federal lands in accordance with State and Federal laws, and permit public hunting, fishing, and trapping within statutory and budgetary limitations and in a manner compatible with the primary objectives for which the lands are administered.

43 CFR part 420, Off-Road Vehicle Use (1974):  43 CFR part 420 outlines the provisions for establishing off-road vehicle use on Reclamation lands to protect the land resources, to promote the safety of all users, to minimize conflicts among the various users, and to ensure that any permitted use will not result in significant adverse environmental impact or cause irreversible damage to existing ecological balances.
43 CFR part 423, Public Conduct on Bureau of Reclamation Facilities, Lands and Waterbodies (2009):  The purpose of 43 CFR part 423 is to maintain law and order and protect persons and property within Reclamation projects and on Reclamation lands and waterbodies.  The CFR deals with Reclamation areas that are open and closed to public use, rules of conduct, authorization of otherwise prohibited activities, special use areas, and violations and sanctions.
43 CFR part 429, Use of Bureau of Reclamation Land, Facilities, and Waterbodies (2009):  43 CFR part 429 sets forth the procedures for Reclamation to recover the value of rights-of-use interests granted to applicants and for collection of the administrative costs associated with issuing rights-of-use over lands under administration of Reclamation.



Executive Order 11644, Use of Off-Road Vehicles on Public Lands (1972):  EO 11644 establishes policy and procedures that will ensure that the use of off-road vehicles on public lands will be controlled and directed so as to protect the resources of those lands, to promote the safety of all users of those lands, and to minimize conflicts among the various uses of those lands.

Executive Order 11989, Off-Road Vehicles on Public Lands (1977):  EO 11989 amends portions of EO 11644 to, among other things, clarify the definition of an off-road vehicle to include fire, military, emergency, or law enforcement vehicles and provide further direction on the closure of previous designated off-road vehicle use areas.

Executive Order 11988, Floodplain Management (1977):  EO 11988 directs the leadership of each agency to initiate actions to reduce the risk of flood loss; to minimize the impact of floods on human safety, health, and welfare; and to restore and preserve the natural and beneficial values served by floodplains.

Executive Order 11990, Protection of Wetlands (1977):  EO 11990 directs agency leadership to preserve and enhance the natural and beneficial values of wetlands in carrying out the agency’s responsibilities for (1) acquiring, managing, and disposing of Federal lands and facilities; (2) providing Federally undertaken, financed, or assisted construction and improvements; and (3) conducting Federal activities and programs affecting land use including, but not limited to, water and related land resources planning, regulating, and licensing.3

Executive Order 12962, Recreational Fisheries (1995):  EO 12962 directs Federal agencies to the extent permitted by law, where practicable, and in cooperation with states and Indian Tribes to improve the quantity, function, sustainable productivity, and distribution of U.S. aquatic resources for increased recreational fishing opportunities.

Executive Order 13444, Facilitation of Hunting Heritage and Wildlife Conservation (2007):  EO 13444 directs Federal agencies that have programs and activities that have a measurable effect on public land management, outdoor recreation, and wildlife management to facilitate the expansion and enhancement of hunting opportunities and the management of game species and their habitat.

Last Updated: 10/19/17