The USDA Forest Service announced the investment of $285 million to fund Great American Outdoors Act projects in 2021. Of this amount, approximately $31.5M will go to the Rocky Mountain Region to fund ninety projects in National Forests in Colorado, Kansas, Nebraska, South Dakota, and Wyoming. It is a five-year program and similar dollar amounts are expected over the next five years. This significant influx of funding will be used to address infrastructure and deferred maintenance needs, enhance economic benefits, and improve recreation and public access on national forests by leveraging National Parks and Public Land Legacy Restoration Funds provided by Congress.
Specifically, the funds will be used to modernize recreation facilities, improve roadways, upgrade campgrounds, design and build new trails or rehabilitate existing trails, repair water systems and update toilets, to name just a few of the wide range of projects slated for the Rocky Mountain Region.
“The Legacy Restoration Funds will allow us to address a backlog of maintenance projects across the region,” said Tammy Angel, Acting Regional Forester. “We are thrilled to be moving forward with much needed improvements to transportation infrastructure and recreation facilities and we are committed to accomplishing all of the funded projects,” she added.
This year’s $31.5 million investment is made possible by the newly created National Parks and Public Land Legacy Restoration Fund, established in 2020 by the Great American Outdoors Act. These funds will allow the Forest Service’s Rocky Mountain Region to implement more than ninety infrastructure improvement projects essential to the continued use and enjoyment of national forests lands.
The projects will also serve as a catalyst for economic development and employment opportunities in rural communities. These new investments will strengthen shared stewardship of national forests and grasslands by expanding the Forest Service work with public and private partners.
Projects funded by the Legacy Restoration Fund will contribute to efforts to develop more sustainable infrastructure resilient to climate change impacts. Projects may also address Administration objectives to provide improved recreational opportunities and access to underserved communities. Funded projects for the Region are listed https://www.fs.usda.gov/Internet/FSE_DOCUMENTS/fseprd892773.pdf.
For more information on these projects in the Rocky Mountain Region, visit the Rocky Mountain Region GAOA website.