Sunday, November 20, 2016

USA’s forest and horse riding trails to get TLC at last - Full Article

November 20, 2016

The US Senate has passed the National Forest Service Trail Stewardship Act (H.R.845/ S.1110), which would direct the Forest Service to take action to address the current trail maintenance backlog.

The move has been applauded by the American Horse Council, which has made trails a priority. The AHC has been working with Backcountry Horsemen of America, the Wilderness Society and many other recreational groups to advance the bill.

The passing of the act follows House passage of the bill earlier this fall, introduced by Representatives Cynthia Lummis (R-WY), Tim Walz (D-MN) and Senators Mike Enzi (R-WY) and Michael Bennet (D-CO).

A June 2013 study by the Government Accountability Office (GAO) found that the Forest Service has deferred trail maintenance needs that exceed half a billion dollars, and only one-quarter of the agency’s 158,000 miles of trails meets agency standards for maintenance. This maintenance backlog is causing access and safety issues for equestrians and all trail users on national forests.

The AHC’s Ben Pendergrass said many people had worked to achieve passage of the bill over the last couple of years, and it was an important victory for equestrians and everyone who enjoys national forests...

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