Administration Budget slashes trails
We've been talking a lot about state lands lately, and for good reason. The closure of places like Mount Si and Rattlesnake loom large and our federal partners have been the beneficiary of decent increases in trails and recreation funding. They've also seen the benefits of one time money from the stimulus bill as well as TARP. But the most recent administration budget takes a whack at an important trail funding line item, and we need your voice back in DC to help recover those dollars.
The Obama Administration proposes to cut the Forest Trails line item by $2.3 million, from $85.4 million to $83.1 million. That might not sound like a huge cut, but remember that this line item has only increased over the past couple of budgets and had decreased prior to that. The agency is in a deep hole and is only beginning to dig itself out, so a cut like this could be a major setback for the Forest Service.
Finally, the future of the National Recreation Trails Program (NRTP) is still murky. Congress is working on a one year extension of the Transportation Budget, which houses NRTP, as part of Stimulus II, but the details are still unknown. NRTP is critical to trail maintenance operations in Washington State, as it's an important source of funding for both land management agencies and non-profit organizations.
As I said above, we need your help. Please take a moment and write a letter to your Member of Congress and both our Senators. Let them know about your favorite trails and how important both adequately funding the forest service and renewing NRTP are to you. Send them to WTA c/o Kindra Ramos at 2019 Third Ave #100, Seattle, WA 98121. We'll take your letter back to DC with us during our trip in early march. Your personal message helps open doors and raise awareness of the important issues facing our Forests in Washington.
You can find your elected officials here.