“The order will have a positive effect on rural economies and American families, allowing guides and outfitters to bring tourists out on multiday hiking, fishing, hunting, and camping expeditions, without enduring costly burdens,” Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke said in a written statement. “The outdoor recreation sector is a multibillion-dollar economic engine, and the more people are able to enjoy our public lands, the better.”
The order came out just before Memorial Day weekend and went into effect immediately.
Rep. Chris Stewart, who represents Utah’s second congressional district, had introduced legislation in the past to exempt river guides and outfitters from the rule requiring higher wages. “We’re grateful for [the rule change] and so are a whole bunch of mom-and-pop river guides,” Stewart told The Salt Lake Tribune. “These aren’t big companies. These are all little family-owned businesses; it’s been really, really difficult for them. It’s been hard on the people who want to work, too.”
Many outfitter employees are paid by the day, however, such as river guides who work long hours but might receive tips and some meals. When their hourly wage is calculated against the day wage, it can be much less than federal minimum wage.
Federal contractors who provide services on federal lands are still bound by the $10.10 per hour rule.