Help Fix the Forest Service Backlog of Trail Maintenance!
Rep. Cynthia Lummis (R-WY) and Rep. Tim Walz (D-MN) have introduced the National Forest System Trails Stewardship Act of 2014. The proposed legislation calls for improved community investment in the National Forest Trail System. If enacted, the act will direct the Secretary of Agriculture to develop a strategy to significantly increase the role of volunteers and partners in helping the U.S. Forest Service alleviate its trail maintenance backlog.
IMBA is encouraging its grassroots advocates, local business supporters and bicycle industry partners to support this legislation. Mountain bikers are some of the most active, productive and reliable volunteers when it comes to trail maintenance. In 2013 alone, IMBA volunteers provided more than 707,000 hours of volunteer service to public lands. In 2011, IMBA volunteers’ contributions to public lands was valued at more than $15.6 million.
This legislation has been referred to the Committee of Agriculture as well as the Committee on Natural Resources and, within the next few days, Rep. Lummis and Rep. Walz will ask their colleagues to show support by co-sponsoring the legislation.
Please contact your Congressperson, ask them to co-sponsor the legislation and tell them why it’s important.
The bill's current co-sponsors include:
DelBene, Suzan [D-WA1]
Graves, Tom [R-GA14]
Crawford, Eric “Rick” [R-AR1]
McIntyre, Mike [D-NC7]
McNerney, Jerry [D-CA9]
Pearce, Stevan “Steve” [R-NM2]
Ribble, Reid [R-WI8]
McClintock, Tom [R-CA4]
Stewart, Chris [R-UT2]
Chu, Judy [D-CA27]
DeFazio, Peter [D-OR4]
Goodlatte, Bob [R-VA6]
Nolan, Richard [D-MN8]
Peterson, Collin [D-MN7]
Daines, Steve [R-MT0]
Napolitano, Grace [D-CA32]
Below you will find a letter template to use. We have also provided suggested talking points that you may elaborate on based on the services your community can provide. We thank you in advance and look forward to making significant progress in providing better trail maintenance on U.S. Forest Service trails!
Important talking points. Please elaborate based on solutions your community might provide:
- The Government Accountability Office (GAO) has reported that the National Forest System (NFS) is only able to maintain a quarter of the trails to its standards. This means the NFS presents a more than $300 million trail maintenance backlog as-well as $200 million in annual maintenance.
- Threats to public land access, increased environmental damage, public safety and future maintenance cost are significant due to the current lack of maintenance.
- Using existing resources will provide solution to the federal budget limitation on NFS trail maintenance.
- Developing a comprehensive strategy to use volunteers and partners effectively plays an overwhelming important role in trail maintenance.
- Priority areas locally that show a consistent lack of maintenance standards such as:
- reduced access to public land
- increased risk of harm to natural resources
- jeopardized public safety
- trails that are obstructed by the local land managers
- increased delays in future trail maintenance costs