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Washington Representative Leads Effort to Fund Trails and Roads

Posted by jmoschella at May 07, 2021 04:28 PM |

Washington Rep. Kim Schrier has introduced the Legacy Roads and Trails Act in Congress. The bill would provide critical public funding to help maintain roads and trails on U.S. Forest Service lands in order to protect endangered species and improve water quality on public lands. Rep. Derek Kilmer cosponsored the legislation.

On Earth Day, Washington Rep. Kim Schrier (WA-08) introduced the Legacy Roads and Trails (LRT) Act in Congress. The bill would provide critical public funding to help maintain roads and trails on U.S. Forest Service lands in order to protect endangered species and improve water quality on public lands. Rep. Derek Kilmer (WA-06) cosponsored the legislation.

A paved road leads through the forest with trees lining it on either side.
Improving roads can offer safer access to Washington's trails. The Legacy Roads and Trails bill would fund work to help increase access statewide. Photo by Christina Hickman.

Advocating for the Legacy Roads and Trails program has been a WTA advocacy priority for years. Its benefits to trails, roads and forest watersheds are countless. Regular maintenance of roads will increase access to trails, and funding for trail maintenance will help to reduce forest backlogs to keep trails well-maintained and sustainable for the future. 

The Legacy Roads and Trails program has been an avenue for forest roads and trails to receive funding for improvements since 2007. From 2008 to 2012, the program provided $300 million to the Forest Service to perform roads and trails maintenance across the country. Since 2019, LRT has not received dedicated funding from Congress.

According to the Forest Service, between 2008 and 2012, LRT funded 11,000 miles of trail improvements, upgraded 500 fish passage sites, and addressed issues on 5,000 miles of roads through decommissioning or maintenance. This accumulates to $3.5 million in reduced annual maintenance costs each year.  

The program also helps to improve the environmental health of forests by reducing impacts to water quality, fisheries and wildlife. It prioritizes areas where roads impact water quality and threatened or endangered species.  

This act is vital to public lands and we need your help to get it moving in Congress! Rep. Schrier’s legislation will go a long way towards improving recreational access in Washington, while also emphasizing the importance of clean water and fish habitat on our forests. Please join us in thanking Rep. Schrier for introducing this bill and leading the way to increase funding for trails! 

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