25. March 2017 · Comments Off on BCHA: Take Action – Chiefs Strategy & Selection of Priority Areas · Categories: BCHI Convention

Dear BCHI Member,
Please funnel your input thru your Lands Liaisons and/or State Directors to Rod Parks at public-lands-north@bchi.org  and Phil Ryan at public-lands-south@bchi.org, as they are already in the middle of this issue.

Thank,
Bill Conger
Chairman

 

 

Take Action

BCHA encourages you to immediately reach out to your U.S. Forest Service regional trail coordinators. A contact list is provided below. The agency needs your help to identify priority areas for increased trail maintenance accomplishments.

Background

As a result of BCHA’s efforts to shape and promote the National Forest System Trails Stewardship Act, signed into law in November 2016, the U.S. Forest Service is required to identify 9 to 15 “priority areas for increased trail maintenance accomplishments” (Section 5, Public Law 114-245). The Act specifies there must be at least one priority area in each of the nine U.S. Forest Service regions.

A copy of Act can be found on BCHA’s website. The Forest Service national office recently issued instructions to its nine regional offices to provide initial guidance for implementation of the Act. In it, they direct regional offices to work with the public to identify and rank recommended priority areas, which are to be submitted by Forest Service regional offices to the national office by April 15th, 2017.

Thus, time is of the essence.

Reach out to USFS Regional Trail Coordinators
If you have not done so already, we encourage BCH chapters to work with their Forest Service regional trail coordinators within the next few weeks to share input on the selection of priority areas. Contact information for each regional trail coordinator can be found at the end of this alert.
National Board Members:

Please be prepared to bring to next month’s National Board Meeting an update on conversations your state is having with Forest Service regional trail coordinators.

Chief’s National Strategy for a Sustainable Trail System
The Forest Service is excited about the timing of the passage of the National Forest System Trails Stewardship Act and the agency’s completion this month of the Chief’s National Strategy for a Sustainable Trail System

The strategy outlines a series of strategic actions to move the agency toward attaining a more sustainable trail system, including:

  • Evaluation and potential reorganization of the agency’s Trail Program to increase field capacity;
  • Creation of a national process for the identification of a sustainable trail system; and
  • Inviting the creation of a national Trails Endowment, to direct funding to on-the-ground projects to be funded primarily via corporate/philanthropic donation.

The Forest Service Continues to be a Great Partner
BCHA shares the Forest Service’s enthusiasm over the fact that trails, and trail maintenance, recently have become a higher priority within the agency. We greatly appreciate that the Chief and leaders of the agency’s trails program, like Joe Meade, have been welcoming partners throughout the Trails Act process. By developing the Chief’s strategy, they also have taken decisive action to tackle the challenges identified in a 2013 report by the U.S. Government Accountability Office (titled “Forest Service Trails: Long- and Short-Term Improvements Could Reduce Maintenance Backlog and Enhance System Sustainability.” GAO-13-618). We salute these go-getters.

Conclusion
Now it’s time to gather additional partners, roll up our sleeves and get some more trail maintenance done. BCHA’s volunteers cannot be expected to reverse the trail maintenance backlog by ourselves, but with the breadth of partners and goodwill we have accumulated over the years, there is no better time to ensure our legacy of “keeping trails open for everyone.”

Donald Saner

Chairman

Regional Points of Contact regarding the Identification of Trail Maintenance Priority Areas:

Region Contact Email Phone
1 – Northern Region Kent Wellner kwellner@fs.fed.us 406-329-3150
2 – Rocky Mountain Region Scott Haas sehaas@fs.fed.us 303-275-5164
3 – Southwestern Region Dennis Garcia dggarcia@fs.fed.us 505-842-3443
4 – Intermountain Region Chris Hartman chartman01@fs.fed.us 801-625-5164
5 – Pacific Southwest Region Garrett Villanueva gvillanueva@fs.fed.us 530-543-2762
6 – Pacific Northwest Region Dennis Benson denniscbenson@fs.fed.us 541-604-4570
8 – Southern Region Debbie Caffin dcaffin@fs.fed.us 404-347-4033
9 – Eastern Region Leon LaVigne llavigne@fs.fed.us 414-297-1313
10 –Alaska Region Sharon Seim sharongseim@fs.fed.us 907-388-8804

Don’t know which region your state falls into? Click here for a map of Forest Service regions.

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