There’s always something. There’s always some threat to the funding of our parks, forests or trails. This time the threat is to the Recreational Trails Program.
The Recreational Trails Program (RTP) is a national program that provides funds to the States to develop and maintain recreational trails and trail-related facilities for both nonmotorized and motorized recreational trail uses. These funds are then distributed to the States so that they can be used to build or improve greenways, hiking and bicycle trails. One of the recipients of this money has been the Mountains-to-Sea Trail. (The picture above is on the Tanawha Trail on the MST.)
For the last two decades, RTP has received a portion of the gas taxes paid by users of off-highway motorized vehicles to fund trail building, maintenance and other trail-related projects.
And now the program is in deep trouble. The U.S. Senate Environment and Public Works Committee has approved transportation reauthorization legislation known as MAP-21 that would effectively eliminate the RTP by stripping the program of its dedicated funding.
The RTP is the foundation of the state trail programs. If the RTP loses its dedicated funding, organized trail planning and development will simply vanish in many areas of the country. But this is not a North Carolina issue. This is an issue of national importance, if you use a trail.
So we’re asking you to call or email your U.S. Senator and ask their support to protect dedicated funding for the Recreational Trails Program.
The key messages are simple:
* Unless the bill is changed, MAP-21 will effectively eliminate the Recreational Trails Program; and
* Please amend MAP-21 to include dedicated funding for RTP.
If you live in North Carolina, here’s the information you need:
1) Call Senator Burr and Senator Hagan’s offices to ask them to work to have MAP-21 amended to include dedicated funding for RTP. Here is contact information:
Senator Richard Burr – 202-224-3154. You can leave a message for the Senator or you can speak to Matthew Dockham, his staff member who focuses on transportation and conservation issues. If you’d like to e-mail Matthew, his e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org.
Senator Kay Hagan – 202-224-6342. You can leave a message for the Senator or you can speak to Aaron Suntag, her staff member who focuses on transportation and conservation. If you’d like to e-mail Aaron, his e-mail address is email@example.com.