60+ Organizations Support Adding U.S. Forest Service to Backlog Bill
Wednesday, July 10, 2019
Posted by: Mickaela Hilleren
Over 60 organizations have signed on in support of adding the U.S. Forest Service to the maintenance backlog bill. Below is the letter being sent to committee members.
Dear Members of the Committee:
The undersigned recreation groups and businesses strongly urge you to include the U.S. Forest Service (USFS) in the Restore Our Parks and Public Lands Act (H.R. 1225).
Outdoor recreation accounts for 2.2 percent of United States Gross Domestic Product, supports 4.5 million American jobs, and contributes $734 billion in economic output, surpassing other sectors such as agriculture, petroleum, coal, and computer and electronic products.
While the National Park Service accounts for the largest share of the approximately $19 billion maintenance backlog on the nation’s federally managed lands and waters, the USFS holds the next largest share – approximately $5.2 billion – and continues to face mounting deferred maintenance needs. As you know, deferred maintenance compounds with cyclical maintenance, negatively impacting outdoor recreational pursuits and the associated economic benefits such activities bring to rural communities. In the wake of the worst extended fire season in U.S. history, it’s imperative that Congress addresses the agency’s $5.2 billion maintenance backlog to ensure that the USFS is able to meet both current demand and to keep up with the increasing desire of Americans to pursue outdoor recreation opportunities on USFS lands.
Eighty-four million people annually enjoy the 158,600 miles of trails managed by the USFS, which generate $9 billion in annual visitor spending and support 143,000 jobs. Maintenance of these routes is imperative to the outdoor recreation industry because the agency’s sustainable, multiple-use management concept supports a variety of activities and programs. Without including the USFS in the solution, the agency will continue to be limited in its ability to carry out the multiple-use approach that enables prioritization of shared conservation stewardship, American jobs in rural communities, and supporting outdoor recreation, the USFS’ top revenue generator.
The longer Congress allows the deferred maintenance needs of the U.S. Forest Service to mount, the longer and more expensive it will ultimately be to address them. Our nation’s forests, grasslands, and the communities that rely on them need Congress’ help so they can maximize recreational and conservation opportunities.
Thank you for your consideration and swift passage of this bill through committee. We look forward to working with you to achieving a historic and important step forward for places all Americans cherish.
Alaska State Parks
America Outdoors Association
American Hiking Society
American Horse Council
American Motorcyclist Association
American Sportfishing Association
Archery Trade Association
Arizona Natural History Association
Arizona Trail Association
Association of Marina Industries
Back Country Horsemen of America
Backcountry Hunters and Anglers
Bike Walk Montana
Boat Owners Association of the United States
Canyonlands Natural History Association
CHM Government Services
Dan River Basin Association
Enchanted Circle Trails Association
Friends of Mount Rogers
Ice Age Trail Alliance
International Snowmobile Manufacturers Association
Marine Retailers Association of the Americas
Monmouth County Park System
Motorcycle Industry Council
National Association of RV Parks and Campgrounds
National Forest Recreation Association
National Marine Manufacturers Association
New York-New Jersey Trail Conference
Outdoor Recreation Roundtable
Partnership for the National Trails System
Pennsylvania Parks and Forests Foundation
Pennsylvania Recreation and Park Society
Pikes Peak Outdoor Recreation Alliance
Public Lands Alliance
Public Lands Interpretive Association
Recreational Off-Highway Vehicle Association
Rocky Mountain Field Institute
RV Dealers Association
RV Industry Association
San Juan Back Country Horsemen
San Luis Valley Great Outdoors
Shenandoah Valley Bicycle Coalition
Southern California Mountains Foundation
Specialty Equipment Market Association
Specialty Vehicle Institute of America
Tahoe Area Mountain Biking Association
Tahoe Rim Trail Association
The Biggest Little Trail Stewardship, Inc.
The Corps Network
Trails and Open Space Coalition
Volunteers for Outdoor Colorado
Washington Trails Association