$262,000 Awarded to 17 Trail Projects
The National Forest System Trail Stewardship (NFSTS) Funding Program awarded a total of $262,000 to 17 trail projects in U.S. Forest Serve regions across the country. Each project supports trail maintenance that is led by dedicated volunteers.
The grant program is a joint partnership between the National Wilderness Stewardship Alliance and the U.S. Forest Service, in collaboration with the International Mountain Bicycling Association (IMBA), American Trails, American Hiking Society, Back Country Horsemen of America, the National Off-Highway Vehicle Conservation Council, and the American Motorcyclist Association. The grants support organizations leading trail maintenance efforts in national forests.
“American Hiking Society is proud to join the National Wilderness Stewardship Alliance and the USDA Forest Service, in collaboration with the broader trails community, in support of funding for these projects” said Tyler Ray, senior director of Programs and Advocacy, American Hiking Society. “The National Forest System Trail Stewardship Partner Funding Program is a critical way to address trail maintenance by leveraging nonprofit partnerships that improve access for hikers and all types of trail users across the Forest Service.”
“IMBA values the opportunity to work with the National Forest System and to strengthen connections among national trail organizations,” said IMBA Executive Director David Wiens. “Trails are truly common ground for environmental stewardship and outdoor recreation. We will continue to engage and educate our IMBA Local partners on funding and advocacy opportunities that bring more trails close to home.”
The largest award this year was received by Friends of Panthertown, protecting and maintaining trails in the Panthertown Valley of North Carolina. $26,752 was awarded to the Friends of Panthertown’s stewardship project activating 250 volunteers to protect and maintain trails. The funds will be used for conservation and trail maintenance efforts across all 30 miles of Panthertown Valley trails.
The NFSTS Funding Program is made possible through the National Forest System Trail Stewardship Act of 2016 which AHS and partnering outdoor recreation and trails organizations helped to pass. The act significantly increases the role of volunteers and partners in trail maintenance to aid in addressing backlogged projects such as signage upgrades, trail clearing, reroutes, bridge and structure repair, and improvements to drainage. The funding comes from dedicated USFS funds, demonstrating the significance the agency gives to the program.