Scott Schloegel, Senior Vice President Government Relations, MIC, ROHVA, & SVIA, congratulates chairman Westerman
Outdoor Recreation Groups Attend Open House for Rep. Bruce Westerman
On January 31st, outdoor recreation community members attended an open house to welcome Rep. Bruce Westerman (R-AR) as Chairman of the House Natural Resources Committee. The standing-room-only event was well attended with representatives from the Boating, RV, and powersports communities stopping by for the celebration.
The House Natural Resources Committee has jurisdiction over public land and waterways access including the ability for hikers, bikers, boaters, horseback riders, snowmobilers, and other OHV enthusiasts to continue enjoying BLM, Forest Service, and National Parks Service lands. Westerman also serves on the Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure.
On January 10th, the Republican Conference confirmed Westerman as Chairman of the House Committee on Natural Resources for the 118th Congress. Westerman has represented the 4th Congressional District since 2015 and served as the ranking Republican alongside then-chairman Rep. Raul Grijalva (D-AZ) in the 117th Congress.
The committee returns 17 Republicans, along with the following seven Republican members who are new to the committee: Reps. Mike Collins (R-GA), John Duarte (R-CA), Harriet Hageman (R-WY), Wesley Hunt (R-TX), Jen Kiggans (R-VA), Anna Luna (R-FL), and James Moylan (R-Guam). Democratic leadership had not revealed committee assignments as of this writing.
American Trails and Professional TrailBuilders Assoc. to Co-Host International Trails Summit
American Trails (AT) and the Professional TrailBuilders Association (PBTA) will co-host the International Trails Summit (a collaborative effort of the 25th International Trails Symposium and Training Institute and the Sustainable Trails Conference) in Reno, Nevada during the week of April 17, 2023. The Summit is the largest gathering of all trail interests— professionals, managers, and users whose goal is to leverage their combined voices to strengthen trails for everyone. The event will convene a diverse trail and outdoor community to learn, build relationships, and find solutions to the challenges of developing and elevating outdoor recreation opportunities for all. The conference will also feature the World Trails Network – Hub for the Americas (WTN-Americas).
This exciting new collaboration gathers trail and outdoor recreation enthusiasts and professionals representing all corners of the professional trails and outdoor recreation industry. The Summit schedule includes more than 60 educational sessions covering a broad range of issues, with nationally and internationally prominent presenters, informative and interactive workshops, a state-of-the-art Exhibit Hall, and a wide array of national training leaders.
Click here to register and get the most up-to-date information.
$1.5 Billion Available through the 2023 RAISE Grant Program
The U.S. Department of Transportation has published a Notice of Funding Opportunity (NOFO) for $1.5 billion in grant funding through the Rebuilding American Infrastructure with Sustainability and Equity (RAISE) discretionary grant program for 2023. RAISE discretionary grants help project sponsors at the state and local levels, including municipalities, Tribal governments, counties, and others complete critical freight and passenger transportation infrastructure projects. The program helps communities around the country carry out projects with significant local or regional impact.
The Department encourages applicants to consider how their projects can address climate change, ensure racial equity, and remove barriers to opportunity. Half of the FY23 RAISE funding will go to projects in rural areas and half will go to urban projects. At least $15 million in funding is guaranteed to go towards projects located in Areas of Persistent Poverty or Historically Disadvantaged Communities, and projects located in these areas will be eligible for up to 100 percent federal cost share, as directed by Congress in the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law.
For the FY 2023 RAISE Discretionary Grants, the U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) offers a series of webinars that delve into various aspects of the RAISE application process. These webinars will be recorded and are an excellent resource for prospective RAISE applicants, as the webinars come from the funding source and share the guidance of USDOT.
The NOFO is available here, and you can learn how to apply here. The deadline for applications is 11:59 PM EST on February 28, 2023.
Recent BLM Activity
- Hailey, Idaho – The BLM Shoshone Field Office is implementing off-highway-vehicle and conditional seasonal restrictions in the Wood River Valley to minimize impacts to wintering deer and elk. No motor vehicles are allowed in the identified areas from January 1–April 30, 2023. A map of the restricted areas is available online and will be posted at the informal snowmobile trailheads. The Wood River Valley Recreation and Access Environmental Assessment and associated Decision Record authorized these restrictions.
- Portland, Oregon – In honor of Martin Luther King, Jr. Day and to increase recreational access to public land, the Bureau of Land Management waived the recreation standard amenity and day-use fees for visitors on Jan. 16, 2023. The BLM invites the public to visit the unique and diverse natural landscapes and visitor facilities on BLM-managed lands to honor the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
- Las Cruces, New Mexico – The Bureau of Land Management Las Cruces District waived entrance fees for visitors to its recreation sites on January 16th, in recognition of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day. This designated Fee-Free day is one of only six days this year when national parks and other public lands managed by BLM will waive fees.
- George, Utah — The BLM St. George Field Office temporarily closed a portion of Red Cliffs Recreation Area from January 16, 2023 to February 6, 2023, for recreation- and cultural resource-related improvements and maintenance. The temporary closure was intended to provide for the safety of workers and the public. The affected areas include approximately 100 acres within the Red Cliffs Recreation Area including Red Cliffs Campground and surrounding trails in Washington County, Utah. This closure included the popular Red Reef Trail. The nearby White Reef Trailhead, as well as its access road, remained open.
- Prineville, Oregon – The BLM is implementing seasonal wildlife closures to protect bald eagles, golden eagles, and prairie falcons during sensitive nesting periods. All public uses, including hiking, mountain biking, horseback riding, and off-highway vehicle riding/driving, are prohibited in the following closure areas during the identified timeframes:
- Tumalo Reservoir: Annual closure from January 1 to August 31 to protect nesting bald eagles. Visitors can still hike or ride in the northeast corner of this area or enjoy the nearby Cline Buttes Recreation Area.
- Trout Creek Trail (south side of the Trout Creek Trail only): Annual closure from January 15 to August 31 to protect nesting golden eagles. Visitors are required to stay on the Trout Creek Trail or between Trout Creek Trail and the Lower Deschutes River. This closure includes the Trout Creek climbing walls. Visitors can still enjoy other nearby climbing locations, such as Rattlesnake, Skinners Butte, and the Gorge at Smith Rocks year-round.
- Cline Buttes Recreation Area (portions of the Deep Canyon, Fryrear, Maston, and Jaguar Road only): Annual closure from February 1 to August 31 to protect nesting golden eagles and prairie falcons. Visitors can still enjoy other trails throughout this recreation area, including in the Tumalo Canal Historic Area and the Buttes, year-round.
- Horny Hollow Trail near Crooked River Ranch: Annual closure from February 1 to August 31 to protect nesting golden eagles. Visitors can still enjoy other nearby trails, including Otter Bench, Scout Camp, Folley Waters, and Steelhead Falls, year-round. Violating the closure orders can lead to a fine of up to $1,000 and/or imprisonment of up to 12 months.
- Twin Falls, Idaho – The BLM Burley Field Office implemented an annual seasonal motorized travel closure in the South Hills area Monday, January 16 to Wednesday, March 15, 2023, to prevent resource damage and protect crucial mule deer winter range and Greater Sage-Grouse habitat. The area is still open to the public for non-motorized use. The seasonal closure applies to all motorized vehicles (including E-Bikes), except those specifically authorized to access the area. Motorized travel authorization is provided for search and rescue operations, emergency medical services and law enforcement personnel, and administratively approved actions such as livestock grazing, access to private lands, and resource monitoring or research studies.
- Susanville, California — The BLM has acquired over 800 acres of land in five areas of northern California and northwest Nevada to improve opportunities for wildlife habitat conservation and public access for recreation. These acquisitions from willing sellers were funded by the Land and Water Conservation Fund and state grants with the goal of conserving America’s lands for the benefit of all people. Closer to Susanville, the Reynolds parcel acquisition of 18 acres at the Rice Canyon Off-Highway Vehicle Recreation Area will enhance riding and off-road driving opportunities. The addition to this off-highway vehicle area provides an important buffer between the recreation area trailhead and adjacent private property owners.