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    Urgent Call to Action to save our public lands

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    November 21, 2018
    Two issues are pending in Congress that are critically important to equestrian access to public lands.  Please take a few minutes this evening, or between football games on Thanksgiving, or after your Black Friday shopping adventures, to call or email your Senators and your Representative to ask for their support on these issues.
     
    Land and Water Conservation Fund
     
    The Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) uses some of the royalties from offshore oil production to acquire land from willing sellers for public recreation, habitat preservation, wildlife refuges and national parks.  The LWCF has created recreational opportunities in Oregon, including in the Columbia River Gorge, the Three Sisters Wilderness, the Willamette National Forest, the Pacific Crest Trail, and many others.   Congress allowed the program to expire last month, but it would be a tragedy for recreation and conservation if this program is allowed to die.  We need this program to be reauthorized.
     
    Recreational Trails Program
     
    The Recreational Trails Program (RTP) uses funds from the federal fuel tax to pay for non-highway recreation projects. It’s one of the best sources available for recreational trails grants, and it has funded many trails projects in Oregon over the years.  Congress almost never fully funds this program, but a bi-partisan group of Senators have introduced legislation to support full funding.  If this measure passes, additional money will be available for recreational trails projects in Oregon.
     
    Take Action!
     
    Courtesy of our good friends at Back Country Horsemen of America, here are the specifics of what to ask for:
     
    Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF)
    • Please call or email Senators Wyden and Merkley and ask them to co-sponsor S. 569, the Land and Water Conservation Authorization and Funding Act.
    • Please call or email your Representative (Bonamici, Blumenauer, DeFazio, Schrader, or Walden) and ask them to co-sponsor HR 6759, the Land and Water Conservation Authorization and Funding Act.
    • Please tell them:
      • LWCF is critical to support outdoor recreation and trails in each of the 50 states.
      • LWCF must immediately be reauthorized with full and dedicated funding before Congress adjourns.
     
    Recreational Trails Program (RTP)
    • Please ask Senators Wyden and Merkley to co-sponsor S. 3604, the RTP Full Funding Act.
    • Your talking points could include: 
      • Since 1991, the bipartisan RTP has supported nearly 25,000 projects to enhance, maintain, and expand multi-use recreational trail infrastructure in every state in the country.
      • It is now time to fulfill Congress’ vision regarding recreational trails and expand these locally-managed projects.
      • This bill will ensure Members of Congress have the information needed to ensure their states, and multiple trail users, are benefiting from RTP and its revenue stream, which is generated by non-highway fuel taxes.
    Please contact your members of Congress today to educate them on these bills, both of which are extremely important to the trails community. 
    Here’s how to reach our elected officials:
     
    Senators (Please call or email both Senators.)
    Ron Wyden:  202-224-5244https://www.wyden.senate.gov/contact/
    Jeff Merkley:  202-224-3753https://www.merkley.senate.gov/contact/
     
    Representatives (Please call or email the Representative for your part of the state.) 
    If you’re not sure which District you live in, go to https://www.house.gov/representatives/find-your-representative and it will match your zip code with the right elected official. 
    Suzanne Bonamici, 1st District:  202-224-0855https://bonamici.house.gov/contact/email
    Greg Walden, 2nd District:  202-225-6730https://walden.house.gov.contact/email
    Earl Blumenauer, 3rd District: 202-225-4811https://blumenauer.house.gov.contact/email
    Peter DeFazio, 4th District:  202-225-6416https://defazio.house.gov.contact/email
    Kurt Schrader, 5th District:  202-225-5711https://schrader.house.gov.contact/email

    Thank you for taking action!
    If you have questions, please feel free to contact me at vppubliclands@oregonequestriantrails.org.
     
    Kim McCarrel
    VP Public Lands