Friday, January 30, 2009

Economic Stimulus and Trails

I keep getting asked by my readers about rumors they are hearing regarding additional monies for trails and recreation in the economic stimulus bill recently passed by the House.

I don’t want to debate the merits of the bill but simply share with you what I think it means.

It looks like the House Appropriations Committee has proposed over $4 billon dollars for the Forest Service, BLM, NPS, USFWS, and the USGS.

I’m not certain but I think the US Senate reworked the stimulus bill and chopped almost $600 million from the House version.

I talked with one Forest Service staffer and they thought the agency is slated for about $1 billion dollars for facility maintenance/restoration, prevention of wildfires/fighting wildfires, and some for trails/recreation. The BLM, NPS and other agencies would receive funds as well – However, I think those amounts are still up in the air.

At the end of the day, I feel certain the land agencies will “get some” of the stimulus package. But the question remains... Even if recreation and trails receive a funding allotment, when summer rolls around will those funds be “reallocated” to fighting wildfires or some other non-recreation project the agency decides is important?

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