According to the September 6, 2013 edition of Federal Parks and Recreation, the States of California, Maine and Kansas - at one time questionable participants in the fiscal year 2014 Recreational Trails Program (RTP) - all enrolled this week. The 2014 program actually begins October 1. Only Florida opted out.
Earlier this year, the State of California stated it would opt out of the $85 million per year program. Those monies are generated by off-road federal fuel taxes. HQ believes that a large grassroots effort helped persuade state officials to change their minds and stay in the program.
NEW FS VISITOR REPORT
The Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack and Forest Service are released a report that highlights the growing number of visitors to the national forests. The report (FY 2008-2012) stated that approximately 161 million users visited agency lands. That number is up slightly from the 159 million visitors in FY-2007-2011.
New U.S. Forest Service Visitor Reporthttp://www.fs.fed.us/recreation/programs/nvum/2012%20National_Summary_Report_061413.pdf
The report stated that visitors who live more than 50 miles from the forest account for the bulk of these contributions and they spend about $5 billion annually. The forest visitor spending contributes about $13 billion to U.S economy.
Motorized users were cast into three categories: OHV use, motorized trail activity, and driving for pleasure. HQ believes this report shows that motorized recreation or motorized access to non-motorized activities continues to be important elements of the recreation opportunity spectrum on federal lands.
HQ believes that an increasing number of those 300 million visitors “driving for pleasure” in or near forest lands includes adventure bike enthusiasts.
FLREA - Use Fees
Currently the Forest Service and BLM can charge fees under the Federal Lands Recreation Enhancement Act (FLREA).
With FLREA scheduled to expire on Dec. 8, 2014, the House subcommittee on Interior appropriations voted on July 23 to approve a one-year extension. The extension would run through Dec. 8, 2015.
This will be a very busy two months for OHV professionals as Congress votes on trail-related appropriations, holds hearings on proposed OHV bills, and hopefully approves several OHV-related bills that are before them including H.R. 1776, the Clear Creek National Recreation Area Act and Congressman Cook’s Johnson Valley National OHV Recreation Area Act.
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