USDA Secretary Announces Infrastructure Improvements for Forest System Trails

Focused work will help agency reduce a maintenance backlog and make trails safer for users

 

U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue in February announced the selection of 15 priority areas to help address the more than $300 million trail maintenance backlog on national forests and grasslands.  Focused trail work in these areas, bolstered by partners and volunteers, is expected to help address needed infrastructure work so that trails managed by USDA Forest Service can be accessed and safely enjoyed by a wide variety of trails enthusiasts. About 25 percent of agency trails fit those standards while the condition of other trails lag behind.

“Our nation’s trails are a vital part of the American landscape and rural economies, and these priority areas are a major first step in USDA’s on-the-ground responsibility to make trails better and safer,” Secretary Perdue said. “The trail maintenance backlog was years in the making with a combination of factors contributing to the problem, including an outdated funding mechanism that routinely borrows money from programs, such as trails, to combat ongoing wildfires.

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Five Ways To Add Challenge To OHV Trail Systems

By Dave Halsey, NOHVCC Contributing Writer

“If you build it, they will come.” While overused and slightly altered, that line from the 1989 movie Field of Dreams certainly applies to adding challenge areas and skills courses to off-highway vehicle (OHV) trails in order to attract new and repeat riders.  Across the country, trail designers are adding higher levels of challenge to trail systems, and doing it in a sustainable manner. Some are challenge loops built off existing trails.  Others are stand-alone skills areas in re-claimed sand pits or mines located next to trails.

In the past few years, this newsletter has reported on a number of new challenge areas built by agencies at the county, state and federal level.  The Axtell Technical Riding Area near McGregor, Minnesota is 40 acres of hill climbs, whoops, bowls, culvert and log crawls, cement-stair and rock crawls, and a mud pit. Built by Aitkin County, it serves as a destination for riders, accessing it from the easy-riding Soo Line North ATV Trail built on an abandoned railroad grade. (See September 2016 newsletter).

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Outdoor Recreation is Big Business

From: Montana Untamed

A federal government analysis of outdoor recreation’s economic impact reaffirms what many conservation groups have said for decades: Outdoor recreation is a big business.  For the first time the U.S. Department of Commerce looked specifically at the economic impact of outdoor recreation.

The analysis found that outdoor recreation contributed $373.7 billion to the nation’s Gross Domestic Product in 2016, comprising 2 percent of GDP. In fact, the outdoor recreation industry’s contribution to GDP was larger than that of all mining, including the extraction of oil and gas.  And the industry is expanding. In 2016, it grew 3.8 percent compared to the overall economy’s growth of 2.8 percent.

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Riding ATVs in Mud, Hills and Off-Camber Trails

From AMA Webpage

ATV Riding Tips

It’s that time of year, when you can sit back and think about last year’s best rides. Did you get stuck, need a pull from a buddy or have to take a second run at a steep hill? Was the cause lack of power, the wrong tires, worn tires or the dreaded operator error?

Let’s take a few of the most common trail conditions or situations, and discuss techniques on how to handle each one. The proper riding technique is a lot cheaper than new tires or a larger ATV. And guess what? If you properly tune your technique, you might find out that you’ve been holding back that old pile of bolts in the garage, and not the other way around.

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