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Support Increased Funding for Trails and Recreation

From American Trails

The Administration Proposes Cuts Affecting Trails and Recreation in FY '09 Budget

The Administration's proposed budget for FY '09 includes a significant increase in the National Park Service budget (Centennial project), but a drastic cut in the RTCA Program. Funding to recreation and trail-related programs in the USDA Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management is slashed. Please let Congress members know how you feel about these proposed cuts for trails and recreation in the Administration's budget:

USDA Forest Service:

Trails Budget: $50 M (compared to $76.4 M enacted in FY '08) 33% cut

Recreation Budget: $237 M (compared to $263 M enacted in FY '08) 10% cut

Forest Legacy Program: $12.5 M (compared to $52.3 M enacted in FY '08) 77% cut

These cuts will reduce the recreational capacity of the forests through trail and access closures, as well as reduce recreation-oriented agency positions. These cuts will prohibit the agency from addressing the tremendous maintenance backlog on trails throughout the forests.

Bureau of Land Management:

Recreation Resources Management: $42.1 M (compared to $50.9 M enacted in FY '08) 18% cut

National Landscape Conservation System (NLCS) (Support the NLCS Act to ensure protection and funding in the future.)

The National Landscape Conservation System Act (H.R. 2016; S. 1139) will enact into law the NLCS created by BLM in 2000 in order to conserve, protect, and restore nationally significant landscapes that represent the crown jewels of lands managed by the BLM for the benefit of current and future generations.

National Park Service:

Rivers, Trails and Conservation Assistance (RTCA) Program: $8.1 M (compared to $8.5 M enacted in FY '08) 17% cut.

93% of the RTCA budget goes to fund personnel costs. This is an on-the-ground program that connects with people and communities. Budget cuts mean staff cuts (estimated 4 to 6 positions for FY '09), and staff cuts mean fewer communities served and less projects completed. If this budget proposal is enacted, the net result would be 20-25 projects less in FY '09.

American Trails serves on the Rivers & Trails Coalition, and we recommend a $3.5 M increase over FY '08 enacted ($8.5 M) to $12 M. This would enable the program to respond to the growing needs and opportunities in communities throughout the country.

Land & Water Conservation Fund (administered by the National Park Service):

Federal side: $42.5 M (compared to $130 M enacted in FY '08) 68% cut

State side: $0 (compared to $25 M enacted in FY '08) No program

The Administration has proposed a 68% cut to the Federal side and, once again, to terminate the State side of LWCF. This critical funding provides recreation opportunities on our public lands and helps communities acquire land for parks and trails and develop outdoor recreation resources. These proposed cuts in the program continue to deny the promise to fund LWCF in the amount of $900 M per year committed over 40 years ago.

To learn more, visit the American Trails website

Contact your Representative or Senators:

Please note:  this is the President's proposed budget.  People need to know that it is up to all of us to contact our Congress members to eliminate these cuts - and the earlier the better.  Even keeping budgets at the FY '08 level is not good enough since these agency budgets were already way below what is needed. These cuts will prohibit the agencies from addressing the tremendous maintenance backlog on their trails.

Encourage Congress members at an absolute minimum to restore funding for these programs to the FY '08 level and also provide an increase over last year's allocations by an amount that at least accounts for inflation.

Contacting Senate and House Subcommittees on Interior, Environment and Related Agencies

Important Note: Due to ongoing security concerns, mail delivery procedures have been implemented in the U.S. Congress which may significantly delay the delivery of mail and packages to Congress members offices.  I recommend shipping using Fedex or UPS. You may also consider sending correspondence via e-mail. 

Senate

To see all Committee Members, visit: http://appropriations.senate.gov/interior.cfm

I would recommend sending letter, via Fedex, to Senator Dianne Feinstein

Phone: (202) 224-3841 - Fax: (202) 228-3954

To email Senator Feinstein

Address letterhead:

The Honorable Dianne Feinstein, Chair
Senate Subcommittee on Interior, Environment & Related Agencies
United States Senate
Washington, D.C. 20510

Dear Madam Chairwoman,

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I would recommend sending letter, via Fedex, to Senator Wayne Allard

Phone: (202) 224-5941 - Fax: (202) 224-6471

To email Senator Allard

Address letterhead:

The Honorable Wayne Allard, Ranking Member
Senate Subcommittee on Interior, Environment & Related Agencies
United States Senate
Washington, D.C. 20510

Dear Senator Allard,

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HOUSE

To see all Committee members, visit: http://appropriations.house.gov/Subcommittees/sub_ienv.shtml

I would recommend sending letter, via Fedex, to Representative Norman D. Dicks

(202) 225-5916 [voice] - (202) 226-1176 [fax]

To email Representative Dicks

Address letterhead:

The Honorable Norman D. Dicks, Chair
House Subcommittee on Interior, Environment & Related Agencies
House of Representatives
Washington, D.C. 20510

Dear Mr. Dicks,

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I would recommend sending letter, via Fedex, to Representative Todd Tiahrt:

(202) 225-6216 - (202) 225-3489 (fax)

To email Representative Tiahrt

Address letterhead:

The Honorable Todd Tiahrt, Ranking Member
House Subcommittee on Interior, Environment & Related Agencies
House of Representatives
Washington, D.C. 20510

Dear Mr. Tiahrt,

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In addition, I would encourage your members to look at the lists of committee members (see links above). If they have a Senator or Representative on the Committees, they should submit individual letters to them.

Also it isn't too early to send to the Chairs and Ranking Members of the Senate and House Appropriations Committees. Let me know if you need assistance with these addresses:

THANK YOU! -- Pam Gluck, Executive Director, American Trails

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