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    OHC Signs Letter to Encourage Max Trail Funding

    The letter below has been sent to the Subcommittee that focuses on trail funding.  As your equine advocate, the Oregon Horse Council joined over 220 other organizations across the country to send a message to DC that we do not want them to decrease funding of trails. 

     
    The Honorable Lisa Murkowski 
    Chairman
    Senate Committee on Appropriations
    Subcommittee on the Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies
     
    The Honorable Tom Udall            
    Ranking Member
    Senate Committee on Appropriations
    Subcommittee on the Interior, Environment and Related Agencies           
     
     
    The Honorable Betty McCollum
    Chairman
    House Committee on Appropriations
    Subcommittee on Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies
     
    The Honorable David Joyce
    Ranking Member
    House Committee on Appropriations
    Subcommittee on Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies

    October 18, 2019
     
    Dear Committee Chairman and Ranking Members:
     
    On behalf of the tens of thousands of diverse trail users our 220 collective organizations represent, we thank the Senate and House Appropriations Committees for adhering to our previous request for trail inclusive funding in H.R. 3052/S.2580, Department of the Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 2020.[1] As discussions begin to reconcile the legislation that has passed the House and advanced out of the Senate Appropriations Committee we ask that Congress ensure the legislation include the following funding levels and report language currently included in either the House or Senate versions of the legislation.[2] 
     
    Forest Service (USFS)
    National Forest trails benefit everyone and receive increasing public use each year. Collectively, the National Forests provide 157,000 miles of trails for activities ranging from hiking, biking, horseback riding, off-highway vehicle usage, groomed winter trails for cross-country skiing and snowmobiling, and access points for “river trails.” Yet this trail system is increasingly stressed and maintenance cannot keep pace with the growing demand due to inadequate funding. The lack of maintenance threatens public access to National Forests and could endanger the public safety if funding does not keep pace with public visitation.
     
    1.  Capital Improvement and Maintenance, Trails as individual funding line item.
     
    • Report Language (House Committee Report pg. 108)
      • “The Committee directs the Forest Service to continue to provide specific trail operation, maintenance, and construction funding and accomplishment data for the national scenic and historic trails in future budget justifications”
     
    1. Capital Improvement and Maintenance, Trails budget at least at $65.262M  
     
    We encourage the committee to adopt the highest funding level for the Capital Improvement and Maintenance, Trails at the House passed level of $65.262M, an $8M increase from FY18. Given cost-share restructuring and the new Forest Operations account we understand this to be the higher amount between the two proposals.
    • Report Language (House Committee Report pg. 110)
      • Trails Maintenance and Construction.--The Committee recommends $65,262,000 for Trail Maintenance and Construction which is a programmatic increase of $8,000,000 above the enacted level and $2,783,000 above the budget request."
     
    1. Capital Improvement & Maintenance (CMTL) Trails funds for the National Trails Systems
     
    • Report Language for National Trails Systems (House Committee Report pg.110)
      • “National Scenic and Historic Trails.--The Committee directs the Forest Service to continue to provide specific trail operation, maintenance, and construction funding and accomplishment data for the national scenic and historic trails in future budget justifications. The Committee notes that the fiscal year 2020 justification does not propose acquisition funding and directs the Forest Service to provide the Committees an updated estimate of trails and land acquisition not later than 60 days after the enactment of this Act.”
     
    1. Recreation, Heritage & Wilderness funding at $194.468 million
     
    We encourage the committee to adopt the highest funding level for the Recreation, Heritage & Wilderness funding, which we understand to be the House passed level of $194.468M. We encourage the committee to include the report language from the House passed and the Senate introduced  legislation.
     
    • Report Language (House Committee Report pg. 107)
      • “The Committee recommends $194,468,000 for Recreation, Heritage and Wilderness, which is a programmatic increase of $15,000,000 above the enacted level and $13,898,000 above the budget request. Funding is increased to improve the recreational experience on National Forest System lands."
     
    • Report Language (Senate Committee Report pg. 105)
      • “Within the funds provided, $1,500,000 is made available to support infrastructure and trails development and to build the capacity of local user groups and partnership organizations for all National Recreation Areas administered by the Service established after 1997.”
     
    National Park Service (NPS)
    National Parks and the world-class experiences their 18,844 miles of trails provide are one of the most unifying forces in America. Well-maintained trails improve the quality of visitor experiences and enhance visitor safety. Yet the agency’s deferred maintenance has grown significantly under several Administrations and the associated reductions in adequate appropriations.
     
    1. Rivers, Trails, & Conservation Assistance (RTCA) program funding at $13.478M
     
    • Report Language (House Committee Report pg. 35)
      • “The Committee recommends $13,478,000 for the Rivers, Trails, and Conservation program, $3,445,000 above the enacted level and $4,420,000 above the budget request. The recommendation includes a program increase of $3,500,000 to provide technical assistance and work with partners, including local leaders and nonprofit organizations, to enhance on-water education and recreation programming for youth.”
     
    Bureau of Land Management (BLM)
    The BLM manages 13,468 miles of trails over 245 million surface acres in the United States—more than any other federal land management agency. Most of the country’s BLM-managed public land is located in 12 Western States, including Alaska, and contains a diversity of landscapes that often provide the public less structured but nonetheless diverse and superlative recreational opportunities.
    BLM recreation resources and visitor services support strong local economies. More than 120 urban centers and thousands of rural towns are located within 25 miles of BLM lands.
     
    1. Fund National Conservation Lands at $84M
     
    • Report Funding Level of $45.112M (House Committee Report pg. 13)
      • While we continue to encourage funding at the $84M level, we urge funding at least at the $45.112M level included in the House passed legislation.
      • Justification:  National Conservation Lands funds enhance recreational access, conserve the Nation’s heritage and manage these nationally recognized resources.
     
    1. Fund National Conservation Lands- National Scenic Historic Trails, subactivity Recreation Resources Management at $9.9M
     
    • Report Funding Level at $81.455M overall (Recreation Management) and $1million increase for the scenic trails program (House Report pg. 11)
     
     
     
    U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service (FWS)
    Located in every U.S. state and territory, and within an hour’s drive of nearly every major U.S. city, National Wildlife Refuges provide incredible opportunities for outdoor recreation, including hiking, hunting, fishing, birding, boating and nature photography across 2,100 miles of trails. More than 37,000 jobs are reliant on refuges.
     
    1. Refuge Visitor Services at $80.855M
     
    • Report Language (House Committee Report pg. 21):
      • “The recommendation includes $80,855,000, an increase of $7,536,000 above the enacted level, and equal to the budget request. The recommendation restores the reduction proposed in the budget request for Youth and Careers in Nature, which includes tribal youth, provides an additional $1,000,000 over the budget request for the Urban Wildlife Conservation Program, and provides $5,106,000 of the requested program increase for refuge visitor services. Engaging Americans of all ages with nature must be a priority.”
     
    Land & Water Conservation Fund (LWCF)- Across All Agencies
    Congress recently showed overwhelming bipartisan support for the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) when it permanently reauthorized the program in S. 47, the John D. Dingell, Jr. Conservation, Management, and Recreation Act. Building upon this support, the committee must ensure that full funding of the program is provided at the $900 million level.
     
    1. Fund LWCF at the $900M
     
    • We are encouraged by the increases in both the House and Senate for LWCF funding, but continue to ask the conference committee provide full funding at $900M, at a minimum funding should be at the higher House passed level.
     
    • Justification: The LWCF has funded nearly 1,000 trail projects across the country and countless other recreation and conservation projects in thousands of communities in every state. It’s time for Congress to fulfill its promise to provide full funding to the LWCF.
     
    1. Include within this appropriation $33.4M for National Scenic and Historic Trails projects
     
    • While both the House and Senate recommend identical funding for four National Scenic and Historic Trail Projects, additional funding is needed to acquire lands that will help protect other trails and close existing gaps between sections of these Congressionally-designated trails. Once land is acquired, volunteers and private funding stand ready to build/maintain the trails. Full funding at $33.4M will protect 41 tracts along six national scenic and six national historic trails.
     
    21st Century Conservation Service Corps (21CSC)- DOI, USDA (USFS), and Commerce (NOAA)
     
    With the establishment of the 21st Century Conservation Service Corps (21CSC) as part of the Natural Resources Management Act of 2019, Congress recognized the need to address modern conservation, recreation, forestry, and infrastructure projects through cost-effective partnerships with Corps. We encourage you to continue this focus and make the additional investments necessary to carry its intent forward and put more young adults and recent veterans to work on the thousands of unmet needs on our public lands.
     
    1. Conservation Corps Report Language
     
    • Report Language (House Committee pg. 149): "Provided, That notwithstanding Federal Government procurement and contracting laws the Secretaries may award contracts, grants or cooperative agreements to local non-profit entities, Youth Conservation Corps or related partnerships with State, local or non-profit youth groups, or small or micro-business or disadvantaged business: Provided further, That the contract, grant, or cooperative agreement is for forest hazardous fuels reduction, watershed or water quality monitoring or restoration, wildlife or fish population monitoring, road decommissioning, trail maintenance or improvement, or habitat restoration or management."
      • Recommended change of “Youth Conservation Corps” to “Qualified Youth or Conservation Corps” as defined in 16 USC Chapter 37, Subchapter II: Public Land Corps Section 1722
     
    • Report Language (House Committee Report pg. 4)
      • “21ST CENTURY CONSERVATION SERVICE CORPS The Committee encourages the Departments of Agriculture and the Interior to continue facilitating the approval of 21st Century Conservation Service Corps organizations and work in partnership to engage young adults and veterans in conservation, recreation, infrastructure, wildfire and disaster response, and community development service projects on public lands and in rural and urban communities, as authorized by the Public Lands Corps Act (16 U.S.C. 1721 et seq.).
     
    We look forward to working with Congress to fulfill these requests to protect, preserve, and maintain trails. For additional information please contact:
     
    Tyler Ray, American Hiking Society, tray@americanhiking.org;
    Steve Salisbury, American Motorcyclist Association, SSalisbury@ama-cycle.org;
    Mike Passo, American Trails, mikepasso@americantrails.org;
    Randy Rasmussen, Back Country Horsemen of America, WildernessAdvisor@bcha.org;
    Spencer Gilbert, Blue Ribbon Coalition/Sharetrails, brspencer@sharetrails.org;
    Josh Tuohy, The Corps Network, jtuohy@corpsnetwork.org;
    Aaron Clark, International Mountain Bicycling Association, aaron.clark@imba.com;
    Scott Schloegel, Motorcycle Industry Council, sschloegel@mic.org;
    Gary Werner, Partnership for the National Trails System, gary@pnts.org;
    Don Amador, Post Wildfire OHV Recovery Alliance, damador@cwo.com
     
    Sincerely,  
     
    Accessible Trails Foundation
    AccessWorks, Inc
    Accomack-Northampton Planning District Commission
    Action Coalition for Equestrians
    Adirondack Rail Trail Advocates
    Ala Kahakai Trail Association
    Alaska State Parks
    Alaska Trails
    Almanor Recreation and Park District
    American Conservation Experience
    American Discovery Trail Society
    American Endurance Ride Conference
    American Hiking Society
    American Motorcyclist Association
    American Trails
    Americans for Responsible Recreational Access
    Anza Area Trail Town
    Arizona Trail Association
    Arizona Wilderness Coalition
    Back Country Horsemen of America
    Back Country Horsemen of America- 3 Rivers Chapter, MT
    Back Country Horsemen of America- Green River, KY
    Back Country Horsemen of Michigan-Pigeon River and Beyond
    Back Country Horsemen of America- First Coast, FL
    Back Country Horsemen of America- Fort Harrod, KY
    Back Country Horsemen of America- Golden Horseshoe Chapter, VA
    Back Country Horsemen of America- Kentucky
    Back Country Horsemen of America- Minnesota
    Back Country Horsemen of America- Northern Colorado
    Back Country Horsemen of America- Northwest Montana
    Back Country Horsemen of America- Trout Creek, MT
    Back Country Horsemen of America-Utah
    Back Country Horsemen of Arizona
    Back Country Horsemen of Colorado
    Back Country Horsemen of Montana
    Back Country Horsemen of North Georgia
    Back Country Horsemen of Oregon
    Back Country Horsemen of the Virginia Highlands
    Back Country Horsemen of Utah- San Rafeal
    Back Country Horsemen of Washington
    East Slope Back Country Horsemen-MT
    Front Range Back Country Horsemen-CO
    Gallatin Valley Back Country Horsemen- MT
    Hoosier Back Country Horsemen of America- IN
    Mesa Verde Back Country Horsemen-CO
    Rocky Mt Back Country Horsemen-CO
    San Juan Back Country Horsemen- CO
    Sarasota Back Country Horsemen- FL
    Selway-Pintler Wilderness Back Country Horsemen- MT
    Wyoming Back Country Horsemen of America
    Zumbro Bottoms Back Country Horsemen of Minnesota
    Bay Area Barns and Trails
    Bent's Fort Chapter of the Santa Fe Trail Association
    Bike Walk Montana
    Bike-Walk Alliance of NH
    Blue Ribbon Coalition/Sharetrails
    Borough of Gibbsboro
    C&O Canal Association
    Cache County
    Canalway Partners
    Cape Horn Conservancy
    Cedar Valley Cyclists
    Central Oregon Trail Alliance
    Champlain Area Trails
    Chelan-Douglas Land Trust
    Chesapeake Conservancy
    Choose Outdoors
    City of Westminster
    Colorado Plateau Mountain Bike Trail Assoc, Inc. (COPMOBA)
    Community Training Works, Inc.
    Concerned Coastal Planners
    Concerned Off-Road Bicyclists Association
    Connecticut Forest & Park Association
    Conservation Works LLC
    Conserving Carolina
    Continental Divide Trail Coalition
    County Line Riders of Catalina
    The Corps Network
    Crow Wing County Snowmobile Trails Association
    Dan River Basin Association
    Delaware Valley Trail Riders
    E mau Na Ala hele
    East Coast Enduro Association, Inc.
    El Camino Real de los Tejas National Historic Trail Association
    Enchanted Circle Trails Associaiton
    Evansville Trails Coalition
    Fitchburg Trails Vision Committee
    Forest Fire Lookout Association - NC Chapter
    ForeverGreen Trails
    Friend of the Tonto National Forest
    Friends of Chimney Rock State Park
    Friends of Sholan Farms
    Friends of the Hennepin Canal
    Friends of the Keystone Arches, Inc.
    Friends of the Mississippi Blufflands Trail
    Friends of the Mountains-to-Sea Trail
    Friends of Van Cortlandt Park
    Friends of Weiser River Trail Inc
    Gallup Adventure & Beyond
    Georgia Trails Alliance
    Grand Mesa Jeep Club
    Green Hills Trail Association
    Green Marble Enduro Riders
    Greenway Action Advisory Committee
    Harlem Valley Rail Trail Association, Inc
    Hawaii Department of Land and Natural Resources, Division of Forestry & Wildlife
    The Hickstead Hillbillies
    Highlands Plateau Greenway
    Hilltop Community Resources
    Hoosier Hikers Council
    Hut2hut.info
    Ice Age Trail Alliance, Inc
    Iditarod Historic Trail Alliance
    International Mountain Bicycling Association
    Iron Ore Heritage Recreation Authority
    Judith Basin Back Country Horsemen
    Lake Champlain Committee
    Leominster Trail Stewards
    Lewis and Clark Trust, Inc.
    Lewis County Recreation, Forestry and Parks
    Linn County Conservation Board
    Lobos Motorcycle Club
    Mahoosuc Land Trust
    Mahoosuc Pathways, Inc.
    Maine Recreation and Parks Association
    Maine Trail Riders Association, Inc.
    Maricopa Trail and Park Foundation
    Marin Municipal Water District
    Meramec Valley Trail Association
    Michiana Watershed
    Middlesex County Conservation Corps
    Milwaukee Riverkeeper
    Monmouth County Park System
    Monogahela Outdoor Volunteers
    Montana Trails Coalition
    Mormon Trails Association
    Motorcycle Industry Council
    MTB Missoula
    National Coast Trails Association
    National Washington-Rochambeau Revolutionary Route Association
    National Wilderness Stewardship Alliance
    Nature Legacies
    Nevada All State Trail Riders
    Nevada Department of Conservation and Natural Resources
    New Jersey Recreation and Park Association
    New Jersey Youth Corps of Phillipsburg
    New Mexico Horse Council
    New Mexico Sportsmen
    New River Alliance of Climbers
    New York-New Jersey Trail Conference
    Newtown Parks and Recreation
    Nickel Plate Trail Inc
    North Country Trail Association
    North County Land Trust
    Oahu Na Ala Hele
    Ocean County Competition Riders
    Oregon Equestrian Trails
    Oregon Horse Council
    Oregon Natural Desert Association
    Oregon-California Trails Association
    Overmountain Victory Trail Association
    Ozark Trail Association
    Pacific Crest Trail Association
    Pacific Northwest Trail Association
    Park County Pedalers
    Parks & Trails Council of Minnesota
    Partnership for the National Trails System
    Pennsylvania Parks and Forests Foundation
    Pennsylvania Recreation and Park Society
    Pikes Peak Outdoor Recreation Alliance
    Pine Barrens Adventure Camp LLC
    Pioneer Bridges
    Pitkin County Open Space and Trails
    Post Wildfire OHV Recovery Alliance
    Prickly Pear Land Trust
    Public Lands Alliance
    Rail-Trail Council of NEPA, Inc
    Recreational Off-Highway Vehicle Association (ROHVA)
    Red Rock Motorsports Club, Inc.
    Rock County Multi Use Trail Group
    Rock River Trail
    Rocky Mountain Field Institute
    San Luis Valley Great Outdoors
    Santa Fe Trail Association
    Shenandoah Valley Bicycle Coalition
    South Jersey Enduro Riders, Inc.
    South Penn Enduro Riders Inc.
    Southbridge Trails Committee
    Southeast Minnesota Back Country Horsemen
    Southern Off-Road Bicycle Association
    Specialty Vehicle Institute of America (SVIA)
    Steffey Trail Connections
    Sugar Land Parks and Recreation Dept.
    Sunflower Rail-Trails Conservancy
    Superior Hiking Trail Association
    Tahoe Rim Trail Association
    Tahoe-Pyramid Trail
    Tidewater Appalachian Trail Club
    Torrington Trail Network
    Trail Boss USA
    Trail Facts
    Trail of Tears Association
    Trails and Open Space Coalition
    Trails Inspire, LLC
    Trails Utah
    Tri County Sportsmen
    Upper Valley Trails Alliance
    Urbana Park District
    Valley Center Trails Association
    Velo Amis
    Vermont Woodlands Association
    Virginia Trail Alliance
    Volunteers for Outdoor Colorado
    Washington Area Bicyclist Association (WABA)
    Washington Trails Association
    The Wilderness Society
    Wildlands Restoration Volunteers
    Wisconsin Horse Council - Trails
    Wyoming Pathways
    Yellowstone River Parks Association
     
    [1] FY20 Trail Funding Coalition Letter (April 4, 2019), https://americanhiking.org/advocacy/fy19-trail-funding-coalition-letter/ (Senate); FY20 Trail Funding Coalition Letter (March 29, 2019), https://americanhiking.org/advocacy/211-organizations-call-on-congress-to-provide-robust-fy20-funding-for-trails-house/ (House).   
    [2] These funding and report language recommendations are specific to the requests made in the joint letters sent on April 4, 2019 and March 29, 2019, respectively, to the House and Senate Appropriations Committees. These recommendations  should not be interpreted to replace additional recommendations made by individual signatories of the letter.


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