- Steph Noll
The Need for Non-Motorized Trail Funding in Oregon
We need more trails funding in Oregon. Our land managers, policy makers, trail builders, and advocates alike consistently face barriers to developing and maintaining sustainable trails, because trails are underfunded in Oregon. Our Coalition was founded, in part, to address the need to preserve and increase trails funding in our state.
On January 7, 2019, Oregon Park and Recreation and Department (OPRD) released the draft of the next 5-year, Statewide Comprehensive Outdoor Recreation Plan (SCORP) update. The plan details how trails, close to home and outside of communities, are a top recreation priority for Oregonians. The new SCORP update also contains an entire chapter on the need for non-motorized trail funding to develop and maintain such valued recreation assets across our state.
SCORP survey respondents identified soft surface trails as one of the top two desired investments both within and outside of communities. Paved walking and bicycling trails were also identified in the top 50% of priorities for both categories. In other words, it's not just public agencies and organized trails enthusiasts identifying the need for more investment in our trails, but also our neighbors and fellow Oregonians in general.
Chapter 9 of the SCORP, using data collected from the U.S. Forest Service and local public agencies across the state, breaks down the need for non-motorized trails funding into three categories: close to home trails (inside urban growth boundaries), trails in dispersed settings, and signature trails- long distance trails that don't fit neatly into the other two categories. Land managers and volunteers alike will also be glad to note that funding needs are identified for trail rehabilitation and maintenance in addition to new trail development. The need is large.
The SCORP update process is open to public comment through February 7, 2019. Take a look. Do you see your community's trails needs and priorities reflected there?
The Oregon Trails Coalition wants to expresses gratitude to OPRD, and particularly to Terry Bergerson, for the extraordinary amount of work and thoughtfulness that went into gathering and presenting data in the plan. We call on our community to provide any input you have to make the plan even stronger, as this plan will provide a strong basis for the Oregon Trails Coalition's and partners' multi-year campaign to increase trails funding in our state.
Besides commenting on the SCORP, we also invite you to join us February 12th in Salem to share with legislators the importance of trails investments in Oregon.
Bottom photo credit: Access Recreation
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