Increased Revenues from Ski Areas Bypass National Forests

Increased Revenues from Ski Areas Bypass National Forests

Colorado ski areas are enjoying a record year, but the national forests where they operate aren’t sharing the rewards. Here’s a good example, recently documented by The Aspen Times. The 11 ski resorts on the White River National Forest paid $20 million in government fees in fiscal 2016 – about $4 million more than the hosting forest’s entire budget – but all that money went to the U.S. Treasury instead of the forest. So did winter permit fees from other ski areas in national forests – an estimated $35 million in 2016.

Rec Trails Program Celebrates 25 Years

Recreational Trails Program Celebrates 25 Years

The Recreational Trails Program (RTP) – a landmark achievement of federal transportation legislation – is turning 25! And there is much to celebrate. The RTP has funded 22,000 trail projects all across the country, benefiting millions of diverse trail users – hikers and bikers, equestrians and snowmobilers, OHVers and paddlers, cross-country skiers, four-wheel drivers and more. States continue to add miles of trails as well as needed maintenance and improvements through grants to local project sponsors each year.

Missouri Governor Jay Nixon to Give Holiday Gift to State's Trail System

Missouri Governor Jay Nixon to Give Holiday Gift to State's Trail System

Missouri’s award-winning trail system is about to get a major addition! On December 10, Governor Jay Nixon – 2015 Sheldon Coleman Great Outdoors Award winner – will cut the ribbon on a 47.5-mile trail connecting Kansas City with Missouri’s world-renowned Katy Trail, giving hikers and bikers an uninterrupted path of almost 300 miles across the state to the St. Louis area. The new section of trail will follow an old railroad corridor.

Fourth Graders Get Free Christmas Trees on National Forests

Fourth Graders Get Free Christmas Trees on National Forests

As your family gathers for Thanksgiving, use the time to make plans for a family experience to be ready for the next holiday celebration. Go cut your own Christmas tree! More than 150 national forests cover nearly 190 million acres of our nation. Under the Every Kid in a Park program, every fourth grader is entitled to a free Christmas tree permit, in addition to a free annual pass allowing entry into national parks and more! Fourth graders just need to show their Every Kid in a Park pass – available online at everykidinapark.gov – at a U.S. Forest Service office near you. If there isn’t a fourth grader in your family, it’s ok. A national forest tree cutting permit costs only five dollars! So make this year’s tree gathering a great family outing.

Key Senator Calls for New Commission on Americans Outdoors at Interior Confirmation Hearing

Key Senator Calls for New Commission on Americans Outdoors at Interior Confirmation Hearing

U.S. Senator Lamar Alexander (R-TN) called for a new Commission on Americans Outdoors during Interior Secretary-designate Ryan Zinke’s confirmation hearing before the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee January 17. “Will you use this opportunity to look ahead another generation and ask the question ‘What outdoor recreation opportunities will our children and grandchildren have?’” asked Sen. Alexander. “I think you’re in a wonderful position to do a follow-up to the Commission on Americans Outdoors. This is the 30th anniversary of that report; a generation has passed and it’s time for the next look.”

Secretary-designate Zinke expressed interest and stressed the importance of attracting millennials to their great outdoors, saying, “We have to look at new ways of incentivizing younger millennials to experience the parks, to experience the outdoors, to teach them the value of our public lands…In many cases, I would argue it’s better than being in front of a TV, watching video games.”

Zinke's Testimony Draws Support of ORIR

Interior Secretary-designate Ryan Zinke Testimony at Confirmation Hearing Draws Support of Outdoor Recreation Industry Roundtable
This release is available as a PDF here

January 17, 2017 (Washington, D.C.) – Declaring himself “an unapologetic admirer of Teddy Roosevelt,” Interior Secretary-designate Ryan Zinke testified January 17 before the U.S. Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources, which is considering his nomination to serve as the nation’s 52nd Secretary of the Interior. His remarks drew praise from the Outdoor Recreation Industry Roundtable, which supports Zinke’s nomination.

Key Senator Praises RTP at DOT Confirmation Hearing

Key Senator Praises RTP at DOT Confirmation Hearing

The Recreational Trails Program (RTP) was spotlighted January 11 at Transportation Secretary-designate Elaine Chao’s confirmation hearing. Senator Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) praised the program during her time for questioning, saying, “Ok, so, now we go to snowmobiles, you know, gotta end good here. The Recreational Trails Program is extremely important. It funds off-highway vehicle, snowmobile, non-motorized trail uses. It’s one of these issues where we’ve actually had the cross-country skiers and the bicyclists working with the motorized vehicles. It derives its funding from gas taxes paid by off-highway vehicle users when they fill up their machines and I hope that you will work with us going forward on that issue as well. It’s maybe not the first thing you thought of when you got up this morning, but that’s been a very positive program for recreational use.” Secretary-designate Chao responded by saying she looks forward to working on the issue.

Increased Revenues From Ski Areas Don't Benefit National Forests

Increased Revenues from Ski Areas Don't Benefit National Forests
This article was originally published 12/28/16 in The Aspen Times by Scott Condon. Click here for the original article.
Click here to see the 2015 FLREA Triennial Report.

The White River National Forest is reaping increasing revenues in fees from Aspen Skiing Co. and other ski-area operators that use public lands.

Low Employee Engagement Found In Federal Land Management Agencies

Low Employee Engagement Found In Federal Land Management Agencies

Federal land and water management agencies lag behind many other government agencies – as well as the private sector – when it comes to employee satisfaction according to new “Best Places to Work” rankings. The National Park Service (NPS) in particular struggles with employee satisfaction, commitment and motivation, ranking 262nd out of 305 federal agencies despite the national celebration of its Centennial in 2016. NPS was the lowest-ranking of the principal federal agencies providing Americans with outdoor experiences.

National Park Service Centennial Act Signed Into Law

National Park Service Centennial Act Signed Into Law
This news release can be found as a PDF here.

Washington, D.C. (December 19, 2016) – A bipartisan effort by the U.S. Congress to help the National Park Service meet the challenges of its second century of stewardship reached a long-awaited and successful conclusion on December 16, when President Barack Obama signed the National Park Service Centennial Act into law. The legislation provides the agency with new resources that will help it engage the country’s growing and diverse population with their public lands and waters, embrace new technologies and address a $12 billion maintenance backlog.