AMA Urges Action to Prevent Trail Funding From Being Slashed in Budget
President's Budget Proposal Would Slash Trail Funding
Write your Senators and Representatives Today!
On February 1, President Obama submitted his proposed budget for fiscal year (FY) 2011 to Congress. One proposed cut could be disastrous for motorized trail users.
Buried in the nearly 200-page document is one paragraph dealing with the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Capital Improvement and Maintenance (CIM) program. The CIM program funds improvements, maintenance and the operation of U.S. Forest Service roads, trails and recreation infrastructure.
Under the budget proposal, the CIM program would be cut by $100 million -- from a $538 million appropriation in FY 2010 to a proposed $438 million in FY 2011. In justification for the proposed cut the Administration says that it wants to focus the Forest Service on "road decommissioning, erosion control, watershed health and forest restoration."
The proposed cut is particularly disturbing in light of the Forest Service's recent work on off-highway vehicle (OHV) travel management. Many National Forest's have only recently completed their travel management plans and will need funding for implementation. As these plans were developed local Forest Service staff repeatedly told OHV enthusiasts that they lacked sufficient funding to maintain existing trails, provide trailhead facilities or to adequately inventory existing trails.
Furthermore, funding for good trail design, construction and maintenance is essential to meeting the Administration's stated goals of erosion control, watershed health and forest restoration.
The OHV enthusiast community has done all it can to assist the Forest Service in funding trails. In partnership with the Forest Service, OHV enthusiasts provide thousands of hours of volunteer hours each year to maintain trail systems. In addition to consistently asking Congress to provide adequate appropriations, enthusiasts also fostered the federal Recreational Trails Program and state level motorized trail programs that provide non-Forest Service funding for trails. The OHV community even supported the Forest Service's controversial Recreation Fee program to get badly needed funds on the ground. But it is incumbent on the agency to seek and provide a reasonable level of funding for trails in its own budget.
Congress will be considering the President's budget proposal over the next few months. The American Motorcyclist Association urges its members to contact their federal elected officials and request that they oppose any cut in the U.S. Department of Agriculture's CIM budget.
You can find contact information for your elected officials at AmericanMotorcyclist.com, click on "Rights," then "Issues & Legislation," and enter your zip code in the "Find your Officials" box. Additionally, a prewritten e-mail is available for you to send to your federal elected official immediately by following the "Take Action" option and entering your information.
Please write or call your Senators and Representative today and ask them to oppose any cut in the U.S. Department of Agriculture's CIM budget.