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Funding for trails in stimulus bill-an opportunity for riders

From the American Horse Council

On February 17, 2009, President Obama signed the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. This bill appropriated over $1.7 billion for the National Park Service (NPS), U.S. Forest Service (USFS), and the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) that can be used for the maintenance and construction of trails and other infrastructure improvements on public land. Recreational riders must work with these organizations to ensure that equestrian trails are among the projects to benefit form these funds.

• The U.S. Forest Service will receive $650 million for capital improvements.

• The National Park Service will receive $ 750 million for operations, trails and maintenance.

• The BLM will get $320 million for management and construction.

The AHC has urged these federal agencies to use a significant portion of these funds for maintenance and construction of trails and other facilities that are open to equestrians. The NPS, USFS, and BLM have yet to finalize spending plans for this recently appropriated money.

Right now an opportunity exists for equestrian groups to provide input to land managers in their states and communities on how this money should be spent and what projects are important to them. Competition among projects for this funding will be intense and there is a limited window of time before final decisions are made.

The AHC encourages its member organizations and individuals who use these public lands to contact their local Ranger Districts, Forest Supervisors, BLM field or District offices and NPS Superintendents and work with them to identify projects beneficial to riders in their area. Doing this will ensure recreational riders are part of the planning process.

If you have any questions regarding this, please call the AHC: 202-296-4031.

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