Hello Trail Partners,
As you heard in our last call to action, the Administration's proposed budget for fiscal year 2018 reveals what are nothing less than catastrophic cuts to programs that directly impact trails and the places where Americans ride, bike, hike, and enjoy the outdoors. The proposed budget for trails and the federal agencies that manage and maintain trails on federal lands fails to provide for even the most basic necessities needed to maintain and manage these critical recreation resources.
The President's budget cuts the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) by 84% compared to the amount approved by Congress for 2017. Similarly, the President's budget would cut the trails program of the U.S. Forest Service by 84%. There is little doubt the agency would be forced to make sweeping personnel changes that would leave few staff among local ranger districts to work with volunteers and partners-to say nothing about the complete lack of seasonal trail crews that could be expected next year. Such budget cuts would be disastrous and unprecedented.
The good news is that Congress does not have to follow the President's proposed budget for 2018. But members of Congress need to hear from you. Otherwise, they just might fall in line behind the President's budget proposal.
Please call your member of Congress today.
1. Let them know that trails and outdoor recreation are important to you.
2. Ask them to maintain the Land and Water Conservation Fund in 2018, at the minimum, at a level consistent with what Congress approved in 2017.
3. Ask that they support levels of funding that keep agency trail programs intact, as volunteers alone cannot be expected to do it all.
4. Ask that funding for trails reflect the growing importance of trails to the American public, including the outdoor "recreation economy," which directly supports 7.6 million jobs across the U.S.
To find information, including a phone number, for your representative in Congress click on this link. For contact information for your U.S. senators, click here. And if your congressman or senator is on one of the committees that control the agency budgets (i.e. the Senate or House Appropriations Committees, or the Interior Subcommittees) then your immediate action is especially helpful! Please consider reaching out to them immediately to let them know that you care about trails and trails infrastructure.
If you desire more background and information on this issue, 3-page paper and a sign-on letter was carefully crafted in partnership with the American Hiking Society, Backcountry Horsemen of America, and the Partnership for the National Trails System, reflecting the level of concern among all trail user groups.
Please take action TODAY to preserve access to trails on public lands.
Our future access to public lands depends on it. Thank you for your efforts to ensure trails for everyone's future.
Executive Director, American Trails