Recreation Community Urges Forest Service Inclusion in Restore Our Parks and Public Lands Act (H.R. 1225)

PDF Version of Letter

February 10, 2020

 

Honorable Nancy Pelosi

Speaker

U.S. House of Representatives

1236 Longworth House Office Building

Washington, D.C. 20515

 

Honorable Kevin McCarthy

Minority Leader

U.S. House of Representatives

2468 Rayburn House Office Building

Washington, D.C. 20515

 

Re: Recreation Community Urges Forest Service Inclusion in H.R. 1225 Prior to Final Passage

 

Dear Speaker Pelosi and Minority Leader McCarthy:

 

The undersigned recreation groups and businesses thank you for your attention to the maintenance backlog affecting the U.S. Forest Service (USFS), and strongly urge the agency’s inclusion in the Restore Our Parks and Public Lands Act (H.R. 1225), which passed the House Committee on Natural Resources on June 26, 2019.

According to the Bureau of Economic Analysis data released in 2019, outdoor recreation accounts for 2.2 percent of United States Gross Domestic Product, supports 5.2 million American jobs, and contributes $778 billion in economic output, surpassing other sectors such as agriculture, mining, utilities, and chemical products manufacturing.

While the National Park Service holds the largest share of the approximately $20 billion maintenance backlog on the nation’s federally managed lands and waters at approximately $12.5 billion, 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 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 attention and consideration. We look forward to working with you to achieving a historic and important step forward for places all Americans cherish.

 

Sincerely,

 

Access Fund

Alaska State Parks

Alaska Trails

America Outdoors Association

American Endurance Ride Conference

American Hiking Society

American Horse Council

American Motorcyclist Association

American Mountain Guides Association

American Sportfishing Association

American Trails

American Whitewater

American Woodcock Society

Angler’s Covey, Inc.

Anza Area Trail Town

Appalachian Mountain Club

Appalachian Trail Conservancy

Archery Trade Association

Arizona Natural History Association

Arizona Trail Association

Association of Marina Industries

Back Country Horsemen of America

Back Country Horsemen of New Mexico, Northwest Chapter

Backcountry Hunters and Anglers

Bike Walk Montana

Boat Owners Association of the United States

Canyonlands Natural History Association

Carolina Mountain Club

Cape Horn Conservancy

CHM Government Services

Community Training Works Inc.

Continental Divide Trail Coalition

Corazón Latino

Cradle of Forestry in America Interpretive Association

Dan River Basin Association

Eastern Sierra Interpretive Association

Enchanted Circle Trails Association

Florida Trail Association

Four Corners Back Country Horsemen

Friends of Mount Rogers

Georgia Appalachian Trail Club

Green Mountain Club

Ice Age Trail Alliance

International Snowmobile Manufacturers Association

Mahoosuc Pathways

Marine Retailers Association of the Americas

Milwaukee Riverkeeper

Monmouth County Park System

Motorcycle Industry Council

Mountains to Sound Greenway Trust

National Association for Interpretation

National Association of RV Parks and Campgrounds

National Deer Alliance

National Forest Recreation Association

National Marine Manufacturers Association

National Wildlife Federation

New Mexico Horse Council

New Mexico Sportsmen

New York-New Jersey Trail Conference

North Country Trail Association

Old Dominion Appalachian Trail Club

Oregon Equestrian Trails

Outdoor Alliance

Outdoor Club of Virginia Tech

Outdoor Recreation Roundtable

Ozark Trail Association

Pacific Crest Trail Association

Partnership for the National Trails System

Pennsylvania Parks and Forests Foundation

Pennsylvania Recreation and Park Society

PeopleForBikes

Pikes Peak Outdoor Recreation Alliance

Potomac Appalachian Trail Club

Public Lands Alliance

Public Lands Interpretive Association

Rails-to-Trails Conservancy

Recreational Off-Highway Vehicle Association

Rocky Mountain Field Institute

Ruffed Grouse Society

RV Dealers Association

RV Industry Association

Salt Lake Climbers Alliance

San Juan Back Country Horsemen

San Luis Valley Great Outdoors

Shenandoah Valley Bicycle Coalition

Smoky Mountains Hiking Club

Snowsports Industries America

Southern California Mountains Foundation

Specialty Equipment Market Association

Specialty Vehicle Institute of America

Tahoe Area Mountain Biking Association

Tahoe Rim Trail Association

Tahoe-Pyramid Trail

Tidewater Appalachian Trail Club

The Biggest Little Trail Stewardship, Inc.

The Corps Network

The Mountaineers

Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership

Trails and Open Space Coalition

Tread Lightly!

Trout Unlimited

Volunteers for Outdoor Colorado

Washington Trails Association

Wild Arizona

Wyoming Pathways

 

 

 

 

cc:        Majority Leader Steny Hoyer

Majority Whip Jim Clyburn

Minority Whip Steve Scalise

 

Chairman Raúl Grijalva

Ranking Member Rob Bishop

 

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