Last week, the National Forest “trails bill” we supported last year was reintroduced in the U.S. House of Representatives by Cynthia Lummis (R-WY) and Tim Walz (D-MN). The bill, the National Forest System Trails Stewardship Act (H.R. 845), continues to spur high-level dialogue and a search for solutions to the growing trail maintenance crisis on our national forests.
BCHA strongly supports H.R. 845.
The bill was introduced at the request of BCHA and our partners, The Wilderness Society and American Horse Council. It responds, in part, to a June 2013 report by the Government Accountability Office (GAO) that reviewed the status and causes of the Forest Service trail maintenance backlog.
If enacted as currently written, H.R. 845 would:
Direct the U.S. Forest Service to develop a strategy to more effectively utilize volunteers and partners to assist in maintaining national forest trails;
Provide outfitters and guides the ability to pay permit fees in trail maintenance activities instead of dollars;
Address the liability issue that hampers volunteer and partner trail maintenance activity in some national forests; and
Prioritize specific areas for trail maintenance within national forests.
Please call or write your congressional representative to express support for H.R. 845. As a result of widespread bipartisan interest, the bill could move quickly through the House of Representatives if no controversial provisions or requests for new appropriations are added. We also hope to see a companion bill introduced in the Senate soon.
Go to this website to find contact information for your member of Congress. In your own words, tell your representative why you support H.R. 845, the National Forest System Trails Stewardship Act. Tell them of your passion for, and commitment to, keeping national forest trails open and enjoyed by horsemen and others. Lastly, please ask them to consider co-sponsoring H.R. 845.
If you are a resident of Wyoming or Minnesota, please include in your message a heartfelt “Thank You!” to Representatives Lummis and Walz, respectively, for introducing H.R. 845 on behalf of the Back Country Horsemen.
Feel free to share copies of your letters with BCHA’s Advisor for Public Lands & Recreation, including any response you receive from your member of Congress.
We are excited to have this bill reintroduced.
Our campaign has taken nearly three years to get to this point. Consequently, we believe BCHA is well-positioned–along with its partners–to continue to explore and promote lasting solutions to the trail maintenance crisis on our National Forests.
Thank you! And please call or send letters today to you congressional representative in support of H.R. 845.
Jim McGarvey, Chairman
Back Country Horsemen of America