The ongoing efforts to downsize federal agencies could have an impact on important programs that protect and enhance outdoor recreation on public lands.
The Forest Service’s recreation program, for example, is currently at risk. The most recent outdoor recreation program director in the Forest Service has retired, and pressure to reduce spending means that the future of program leadership is unclear.
Outdoor recreation is the primary way that Americans experience public lands, fueling an $887 billion outdoor recreation economy. Recreation opportunities are what draw Americans to public lands, and ensuring a sustainable future for outdoor opportunities is crucial for the health and value of National Forests. Although the Forest Service has made big strides to improve recreation management in recent years – including recreation data, managing specifically for sustainable recreation, and finding a balance between motorized and human-powered recreation opportunities – these investments are at risk without investment and leadership.
To maintain crucial infrastructure for outdoor recreation, including trails, campgrounds, and trailheads, the Forest Service must continue to invest in leadership, staff, and funding. Outdoor Alliance recently shared its thoughts with the Forest Service on the future of the its recreation program. Click here or at right to read the full letter.