January 2024

Connecticut Establishes Office of Outdoor Recreation

On Jan. 11, Gov. Ned Lamont announced the creation of Connecticut’s new Office of Outdoor Industry and Experiences through an executive order. This marks the 21st state Office of Outdoor Recreation created across the country. “Our State Parks are among the best in the country and provide the setting for many memorable outdoor recreation experiences,” said Lamont. “Our private partners help facilitate those experiences, whether it be a great day of skiing here at Mohawk, tubing with family and friends on the Farmington River, or taking a ride on the Essex Steam Train. There are so many wonderful ways to experience the outdoors in our state, and with this new Office and RFI, we look forward to discovering new ways to play in the outdoors in our beautiful state.”

The new office is in Connecticut’s Department of Energy and Environmental Protection. It will partner with the private sector to grow Connecticut’s outdoor recreation opportunities and tourism. Governor Lamont also announced the Partnership in Parks initiative, inviting individuals to submit concepts for outdoor recreation business opportunities that can help elevate outdoor recreation and visitor experience in state parks, expand tourism destinations, and provide equitable and sustainable outdoor access. Businesses, non-profits, and other interested stakeholders can respond to the Request for Information at https://portal.ct.gov/DEEP-parks-partnerships.


Legacy Restoration Fund Projects

As reported in the December newsletter, we will feature the 37 motorized and non-motorized infrastructure projects totaling $20M funded through FY23 in the ARRA newsletters.  Click here to access projects funded in your state. Below are the projects featured this month:

First South Branch Oconto Snowmobile Trail Bridge Replacement ($183,200)

Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest, Wisconsin

This project replaces the snowmobile trail bridge over the First South Branch Oconto River.

Flathead National Forest Trail Deferred Maintenance Reduction Project ($400,000)

Flathead National Forest, Montana

This is a multi-year project to reduce deferred maintenance on more than 340 miles of trails in the Tally Lake and Swan Lake Ranger Districts in the Flathead National Forest, some of which are located in the Mission Mountain Wilderness.  These trails provide recreation opportunities for motorbikes, mountain bikers, stock users, and hikers.

Giant Sequoia National Monument-Ten Mile Road & Bridge Replacement ($4,250,000)

Sequoia National Forest, California

Ten Mile Road (FS 13S09) in the Hume Lake Recreation Area (HLRA) of the Giant Sequoia National Monument is a main arterial road that connects many privately owned recreation-related businesses, including the privately owned Hume Lake Christian Camps (which receive 1,500 campers per week) to the lake and public lands. Ten Mile Road accesses the HLRA from the Generals Highway via Sequoia National Park. Ten Mile Road also accesses an agency fire station, telecommunications towers, fire lookout, several iconic Giant Sequoia groves, private property, dispersed recreation, off-highway vehicle trails, winter recreation, and snow survey areas. The Forest Service is planning a new campground and RV dump station on the road, and increased traffic is anticipated. Ten Mile Road needs deferred maintenance work to accommodate high-volume recreational traffic and ensure public safety. The road, Maintenance Level 5 paved surface double, has sustained significant storm damage in recent years. The Hume Lake Christian Camps is a cooperative funding partner in the project, which consists of bridge replacement, installation of traffic control devices, crack sealing, pothole patching, overlays, new asphalt segments, new signage, and centerline stripping. Overall, the road is deteriorating rapidly, and public safety is increasingly concerning to the agency. New signage and safety/parking devices are planned for the Powder Can Day Use area immediately adjacent to the road at the iconic and historical Hume Lake Dam, which is currently being nominated as a National Historic Landmark, which will be only one of such three places of such historic distinction in Region 5.

Green Mountain Trail Bridge Replacements ($170,000)

Green Mountain and Finger Lakes National Forests, Vermont

This multi-year project will replace or repair structurally deficient bridges essential for maintaining public safety and reducing stream sedimentation. Project activities will improve the user experience for bridges on the Appalachian Trail, Long Trail, Vermont snowmobile trail network, and Vermont mountain bike system. This project will improve fish passage by removing stream barriers and narrowing stream channels.

Jenkins Crossing (Trail Bridge) Replacement ($330,000)

Payette National Forest, Idaho

The Payette National Forest will reduce years of deferred maintenance by replacing the failed Jenkins Crossing trail bridge on a popular trail system to restore access for motorcycles, stock, and hikers.


Recent Bureau of Land Management Activity

  • Kremmling, Colo. – The BLM began its annual winter restrictions on motorized travel in Grand and Jackson counties on Dec. 15, which continue through April 15 in most areas. The restrictions help reduce stress on wintering big game herds and prevent road damage. The North Sand Hills Special Management Recreation Area in Jackson County is closed to motorized and mechanized vehicles, including snowmobiles. All other travel routes and areas on BLM lands on Wolford Mountain will be closed to all motorized use.
  • Lake Havasu City, Ariz. – The BLM Lake Havasu Field Office announced the temporary closure and restrictions of selected public lands for the Parker 400 off-highway vehicle (OHV) race events in and around the Parker 400 course near the communities of Parker and Bouse. The temporary closure took effect on Jan. 8-13, and the temporary restrictions from Jan. 7- 13.
  • Challis, Idaho – The BLM Challis Field Office seeks input during a 30-day public comment period on a document analyzing the potential impacts of authorizing Special Recreation Permits on BLM-administered public lands.
  • Palm Springs, Calif. – The BLM implemented a temporary closure of public lands from Jan. 25 – Feb. 3, in the Johnson Valley Off-Highway Vehicle Recreation Area, San Bernardino County, during the annual 2024 King of the Hammers desert race event. A BLM Special Recreation Permit authorizes the race, and the temporary closure is necessary to facilitate public safety and provide an enhanced recreation experience for event participants and spectators.
  • Carson City, Nev. – The BLM, Sierra Front Field Office, seasonal motorized vehicle closure of the Sand Hills Critical Wildlife Area was enacted on Dec. 1, 2023, and ends on April 30, 2024. This habitat area is 20 miles north of Reno, east of Red Rock Road, south of Bedel Flat Road, and west of Bird Springs Road. The annual motorized vehicle closure encompasses approximately 13,300 acres and protects critical winter range habitat for mule deer.
  • Phoenix, Ariz. – Beginning Feb. 5, the BLM will close public lands near Apache Junction for approximately two years to construct the Goldfield Recreation Area. The temporary closure is a safety precaution for both workers and the public. The project area includes approximately 1,091.97 acres of public lands northeast of the City of Apache Junction along State Route 88 near Hackamore and Nodak roads. The recreation area will enhance non-motorized opportunities by establishing equestrian staging areas and designated trails. The recreation area will improve public land management, reduce resource damage, and increase access to nearby trails.
  • Portland, Ore. – The BLM waived recreation standard amenities and day-use fees in 10 areas on Jan. 15 in honor of the birthday of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
  • Twin Falls, Idaho – The BLM Burley Field Office implemented an annual seasonal motorized travel closure in the South Hills area, south of Twin Falls, from Jan. 16 to March 15. The closure is intended to prevent resource damage and protect crucial mule deer winter range and sage-grouse habitat. The area remains open to the public for non-motorized use.