Only a Quarter of Forest Service Trails Meet Agency Standards – GAO Report
The U.S. Forest has a huge trail maintenance backlog, according to the Government Accountability Office (GAO).
The Forest Service manages more than 158,000 miles of recreational trails and maintenance includes removing downed trees and bridge repairs (see photo). The GAO found that about $80 million is budgeted annually for such work. The backlog of work was estimated at over $314 million in 2012.
The GAO report listed reasons for the lack of regular maintenance. Some of the reasons include:
The GAO recommended that the Forest Service analyze the trails program needs and develop options for increasing maintenance. It also said that volunteers need to be encouraged and trained in proper maintenance procedures.