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The Honorable Raúl Grijalva The Honorable Rob Bishop
Chairman Ranking Member
House Committee on Natural Resources House Committee on Natural Resources
1324 Longworth House Office Constructing 1324 Longworth House Workplace Constructing
Washington, DC 20515 Washington, DC 20515
June 19, 2019
Re: Statement in Help of H.R. 3195, Land and Water Conservation Fund Permanent Funding Act, and H.R. 1225, Restore Our Parks and Public Lands Act.
Pricey Chairman Grijalva, Ranking Member Bishop, and Members of the Committee,
On behalf of the American Hiking Society, our members, supporters, and the millions-strong mountaineering group nationwide, we encourage the committee to help two items of laws into account at the moment: H.R. 3195, Land and Water Conservation Fund Permanent Funding Act, and H.R. 1225, Restore Our Parks and Public Lands Act.
Help H.R. 3195, Land and Water Conservation Fund Everlasting Funding Act
Earlier this yr, Congress overwhelmingly passed a everlasting reauthorization of the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF), making certain the program can be round for future generations, however that promise doesn’t assure it’ll obtain sufficient funding annually. Permanent reauthorization has not eliminated threats to LWCF and its many advantages to communities. LWCF funds have been particularly put except for offshore oil and fuel drilling royalties, meant as an inexpensive conservation offset for power improvement. Yet yr after yr, on common greater than half these funds have been diverted, solely to vanish into the overall revenue stream with no accountability.
H.R. 3195 would offer full, everlasting, and devoted funding for LWCF, realizing the promise that was made to the American individuals when first approved almost half a century in the past: to take the proceeds from pure useful resource improvement and invest a small portion in conservation and outside recreation. The program has funded almost one thousand trail tasks and hundreds of different tasks ranging from National Parks, Forests and Wildlife Refuges, to group parks and ball fields in all 50 states. Our Nationwide Scenic and Historic Trails, which celebrated their 50th Anniversary in 2018, have benefited from LWCF funding. LWCF funded the completion of the Appalachian Path and the building of main segments of the Pacific Crest Trail, and at the least ten different scenic and historic trails, over 52 totally different tasks. Everlasting and devoted funding is a must to ensure that our nation’s trails, public lands, parks, and open areas remain protected and accessible for generations to return.
Help H.R. 1225, Restore Our Parks and Public Lands Act
H.R. 1225 is a first step to deal with the $21.5 billion maintenance backlog that exists throughout all federal lands. The bill creates a fund that would offer $6.5 billion over 5 years from power improvement revenues on federal land and water to deal with probably the most urgent deferred upkeep wants inside the National Park Service, Fish and Wildlife Service, Bureau of Land Administration, and Bureau of Indian Schooling.
Nevertheless, H.R. 1225 doesn’t embrace the U.S. Forest Service’s $5.5 billion backlog (together with $300 million for path upkeep) and its 193 million acres of public lands, which encompass 157,000 miles of trails. We urge the committee to amend the laws to include the U.S. Forest Service as part of a complete answer to deal with deferred upkeep throughout all federally managed lands.
Current Deferred Upkeep Trail Backlogs
When annual upkeep needs go unaddressed, long-term problems arise, significantly hampering the general public’s entry to outside recreation. Closed trails, out-of-service restrooms, campgrounds in poor circumstances, and impassable roads are just a few of the limitations that hikers face. In flip, native economies that rely on trail recreation endure.
As of 2018, 193,138 miles of trails on federal lands have an estimated $886 billion upkeep backlog.
Impression on Economic Activity and Recreation Entry
The economic impression of trails and the potential elevated economic activity from addressing deferred upkeep and completely funding LWCF can be vital. In line with the Outside Business Association, trail-centered actions immediately generate over $594 billion and almost three.5 million jobs. On federally managed land, outside recreation contributes greater than $64.6 billion to the nationwide financial system and supports greater than 623,000 jobs yearly. A lot of this spending takes place in small communities along each of the paths, communities for which this revenue is substantial, significant, and will stay local. Many of the roles that trails create cannot be exported offshore: guides and outfitters, lodge employees and restauranteurs, and quite a few others instantly benefit the group by which they reside. Open and well-maintained trails are essential for this continued financial profit.
The maintenance and enlargement of our nation’s trails is essentially supported by trail organizations and citizen volunteers who leverage government assets to take care of and increase our trails. On the National Trails System alone, since 1995, a whole lot of hundreds of citizen volunteers have contributed more than 19 million hours to build and keep National Scenic and Historic Trails, and nonprofit trail organizations have contributed greater than $200 million towards trail stewardship tasks, a total value of $577.four million.
Trails are more than simply an financial engine. Since our nation’s founding, the outside has been a particular part of our American expertise, and trails are integral to that experience. Whether it’s a family out for a hike on a close-by path, a returning veteran strolling off the warfare, or hunters and anglers accessing their websites, People continue to hunt locations for outside recreation, a connection to nature, and wholesome train. By addressing long overdue improvements to trails and the creation of new trails, Congress can be sure that outside recreation remains open and accessible.
Land and Water Conservation Fund and Deferred Maintenance Should Be Addressed Collectively
We urge concurrent consideration of the Land and Water Conservation Fund Permanent Funding Act and the Restore Our Parks and Public Lands Act. As each would obtain funding from Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) income, longstanding commitments to the LWCF ought to be met before designating new OCS commitments. Fulfilling the promise of LWCF and addressing deferred upkeep are complementary funds to ensure that our natural assets are each conserved and preserved for continued use. One shouldn’t be completed at the expense of the opposite.
_____________________________________________________________________________________________________ For example, regardless of signing S. 47 (including the permanent reauthorization of LWCF) into regulation, the Administration proposed a 105% minimize to LWCF funding in its FY20 finances proposal.  See Exploring Revolutionary Options to Scale back the Division of the Interior’s Upkeep Backlog Before the H. Comm on Natural Resources, 115th Cong. (2018) (statement of U.S. Dep’t of the Inside), obtainable at https://www.doi.gov/ocl/doi-maintenance-backlog; See additionally U.S. Dep’t of Agric., Office of Inspector Gen., Forest Service Deferred Upkeep 2 (Might 2017), out there at https://www.usda.gov/oig/webdocs/08601-0004-31.pdf.
Administered by the Division of the Inside and the USDA Forest Service Earlier than the S.Comm on Power and Natural Resources, 116th Cong. (2019) (assertion of Lenise Lago, Affiliate Chief, USDA Forest Service), obtainable at https://www.energy.senate.gov/public/index.cfm/hearings-and-business-meetings?ID=69C0BD6D-0DAD-4CEC-8FE0-06946A0EA883. See also Carol Hardy Vincent, Congressional Research Serv., Deferred Maintenance of Federal Land Administration Businesses: FY2007-FY2016 Estimates and Points 3 (Apr. 25, 2017), out there at https://fas.org/sgp/crs/misc/R43997.pdf. See additionally U.S. Dep’t of Agric., FY 2019 Price range Justification 75 (Feb. 2018), obtainable at https://www.fs.fed.us/sites/default/files/usfs-fy19-budget-justification.pdf. Nat’l Park Serv., Nat’l Park Serv. Asset Stock Summary FY17, obtainable at https://www.nps.gov/subjects/plandesignconstruct/upload/FY17-Asset-Inventory-Summary-AIS-Servicewide_Report_508-3.pdf.