U.S. SENATE —U.S. Senator Steve Daines today hailed the U.S. Senate’s unanimous passage of his legislation to improve maintenance of Montana’s National Forest trails.
The National Forest System Trails Stewardship Act would ensure existing Forest Service resources are better used to maintain National Forest trails. It would also significantly increase the role of volunteers and local partners in maintaining the usability and sustainability of the National Forest trail system.
“Too many of our National Forest trails are left unmaintained, making it difficult for Montanans to enjoy our state’s treasured lands,” Daines stated. “This bill will make incremental progress in protecting and maintain our nation’s trail system so Montanans can continue to enjoy and appreciate our public lands for generations to come.”
Only one-quarter of the 158,000 miles of National Forest trails are actively maintained by the Forest Service, preventing Montanans from using many designated trails for hiking, hunting, mountain biking, motorized vehicle use, horseback riding and other outdoor activities. The National Forest System Trails Stewardship Act requires the development of a national strategy to maximize the use of volunteers and local partners in trail maintenance, while also addressing liability concerns that restrict outside groups and individuals working on National Forest trails.
This legislation passed the U.S. House of Representatives with Congressman Ryan Zinke’s support on September 26, 2016. It now heads to President Obama’s desk for his signature.
The bill is supported by dozens of sportsmen, recreation, conservation, and governance groups in Montana and across the country. Below is a partial list:
Western Governors’ Association
Montana Association of Counties
American Council of Snowmobile Associations
American Motorcyclist Association
Rural and Agricultural Council of America
United States Cattlemen’s Association
Outfitters and Guides
America Outdoors Association
Montana Outfitters and Guides Association
Professional Wilderness Outfitters Association
Back Country Horsemen of Montana
Hunting and Fishing Organizations
Montana Wildlife Federation
National Wild Turkey Federation
National Wildlife Federation
Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation
Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership
Montana Wilderness Alliance
Natural Resources Defense Council
The Wilderness Society
Wyoming Outdoor Council
American Hiking Society
Continental Divide Trail Coalition
Corvallis-to-the-Sea Trails Partnership
National Coast Trail Association
Assoc. of Outdoor Recreation and Education