Bill Requires Forest Service to Consider Public Interest when Identifying Priority Areas
Washington, D.C. - Colorado U.S. Senator Michael Bennet invites the public to help identify priority areas as part of an effort to increase the role of volunteers and partners in maintaining the National Forest trail system.
"Colorado attracts millions of people each year to hike, bike, and explore some of the best trails in the country," Bennet said. "These public lands belong to all Coloradans, and we invite everyone to help the Forest Service determine which areas should be prioritized to help make our trail system more accessible and safe. A bipartisan bill that we passed last year set this process in motion, and it's promising to see the Forest Service following through on this effort."
The National Forest System Trails Stewardship Act of 2016, introduced by Bennet and passed in the 114th Congress, aims to increase trail maintenance from volunteers and partners by 100% by the end of 2021. Under the Act, the Forest Service will select nine to 15 priority areas among its nine regions where a backlog in trail maintenance reduces access, harms natural resources or trail users, or has the potential to increase costs for future maintenance.
The selected sites will be part of an initial program that includes a variety of areas-from urban to remote, vast to local, motorized to non-motorized-and focuses on a combination of partners and volunteers to improve trail maintenance and stewardship. The Forest Service is required to consider input from the public to help guide their decisions about the priority areas.
To provide ideas and suggestions on potential priority areas and approaches for incorporating increased trail maintenance assistance from partners and volunteers, please visit http://tinyurl.com/mjhw3c6, or contact your local Forest Service office, or Regional Trail Program Manager Scott Haas by April 7, 2017.