Congressman Greg Walden

Representing the 2nd District of Oregon

Greg Walden applauds U.S. House bill to improve health of public trails

September 27, 2016
Press Release

Greg Walden applauds U.S. House bill to improve health of public trails   

Walden meeting with backcountry horsemen, snowmobilers, and other forest enthusiasts last year in the Deschutes National Forest to discuss the bill. 

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- The U.S. House of Representatives today passed the National Forest System Trails Stewardship Act (H.R. 845), legislation championed by Rep. Greg Walden (R-Hood River) to help better maintain public trails on national forests and ensure they are accessible for outdoor recreation. 

“Hunting, fishing, camping, and other outdoor activities are cherished pastimes here in Oregon, and they should be enjoyed for generations to come. But as many people in Oregon know, the public trails in our state are in desperate need of better management,” said Walden. “The National Forest System Trails Stewardship Act makes a number of common-sense improvements to how the Forest Service maintains our state’s trails and landscape, and helps put us on the path to more sustainable trail management.” 

Last year, Walden met with backcountry horsemen, snowmobile users, and other forest enthusiasts to discuss the legislation in Bend. The National Forest System Trails Stewardship Act addresses many of their concerns with trail management by breaking down barriers for volunteer efforts and collaboration with outside groups. Notably, the bill would encourage fire crews to perform maintenance during the offseason, and allow outfitters and guides to reduce their fees by providing trail maintenance. 

According to a 2013 report by the Government Accountability Office (GAO), the Forest Service is only able to maintain about one quarter of trails up to standard, and nearly two-thirds of trails receive no maintenance at all. The report also recognizes the benefits of utilizing volunteers for trail maintenance, and recommends steps to help the Forest Service maximize use of volunteers and partners. 

The National Forest System Trails Stewardship Act passed the House with unanimous support, and now heads to the Senate for consideration. 

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