On the Friday of Memorial Day Weekend, President Trump issued an executive order that gives more flexibility to guides and outfitters that operate in National Parks and other public lands. The Exemption from Executive Order 13658 for Recreational Services on Federal Lands lifts the $10.10 minimum wage requirement previously mandated in 2014.
According to President Trump, the current mandate was negatively impacting guide and outfitter operations.
“These individuals often conduct multiday recreational tours through Federal lands, and may be required to work substantial overtime hours. The implementation of Executive Order 13658 threatens to raise significantly the cost of guided hikes and tours on Federal lands, preventing many visitors from enjoying the great beauty of America’s outdoors.”
Due to the nature of the industry, guides often work for days straight with guests which leads to overtime issues and increased financial burden on the business owners. Mac Minard, Executive Director of the Montana Outfitters and Guides Association and Chairman of the Professional Outfitters and Guides of America is happy to see the exemption go into effect.
“Today’s action by President Trump and Secretary Zinke removed what was an impossible compliance issue and therefore a monumental liability for the nations Guides and Outfitters. Attending to the health safety and welfare of clients on an outfitted trip begins at the trailhead and ends days later when everyone has safely returned; compliance with time accounting measures required by E.O. 13658 was impossible in this work environment.”
David Brown, the Vice President of the America Outdoors Association, also applauds this new exemption.
“Because we are in the backcountry 24/7 and on duty much or all of that time, E.O. 13658 was ill-conceived for businesses who cannot bring on a second or third shift to control overtime.”
National Parks make it possible for those without the resources or skills to enjoy outdoor activities. Seasonal recreation services mentioned in Trump’s executive order include river running, hunting, fishing, horseback riding, camping, mountaineering activities, recreational ski services, and youth camps. This exemption aims to keep recreation accessible and affordable for everyone and give guiding and outfitting companies more financial flexibility.