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  • Steph Noll

Funding for Oregon Trails: Our Asks to the Oregon Congressional Delegation

Mt. Hood in background with clear skies and vegetation in foreground
Photo by Tom Kloster

With a new budget appropriations cycle and a transportation bill reauthorization process under way, there are many opportunities for Congress to act in support of trails.

The Oregon Trails Coalition sent a letter to every member of the Oregon Congressional Delegation to share how important federal investments are to trails in Oregon. We also send our thanks to the members of the Trails Move People Coalition for leading the charge advocating for trails on Capitol Hill.

From our letter:

The 2019-2023 Oregon Statewide Comprehensive Outdoor Recreation Plan demonstrated that trails are a top investment priority for Oregonians, and 74% of Oregonians report using local trails.

We are immensely proud of our beautiful, iconic landscapes in Oregon and of our vibrant cities and towns. It is also true that our state has unique challenges to developing and maintaining the trails Oregonians deeply value for recreation, health, transportation, and accessing the beautiful places we hold so dear.

With our immense share of federal public lands, Oregonians are especially dependent on federal lands funding to maintain and modernize our USFS and BLM trail systems. For example the CMTL account of the United States Forest Service is woefully underfunded, and our list of decommissioned trails and deferred maintenance needs continues to grow.

With our state constitutional restriction on the State Highway Fund to projects in the road right- of-way, federal funding sources such as Transportation Alternatives and the Recreational Trails Program are crucial for trails, off-street paths, and bike and pedestrian bridges that complete major gaps in Oregon communities’ transportation system plans and recreation networks. Such trails, paths, and bridges provide critical connections and safe corridors for youth getting to school, families walking and biking in their neighborhoods, commuters getting to and from work, and for Oregonians and visitors alike to access Oregon’s iconic landscapes.

Outdoor recreation is central to both Oregon’s tourism economy and to our identity as Oregonians. Many of our favorite places are beyond carrying capacity, and our land managers lack the resources to invest in sustainable trail systems and trailheads. Our state’s Recreation Trails Program is consistently oversubscribed with worthy proposals.

Read our full letter including the requests of our national partners!

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