Report: National forest trails poorly maintained - KOTA Territory News

Report: National forest trails poorly maintained

By JEFF BARNARD
Associated Press

GRANTS PASS, Ore. (AP) - A government report finds that hiking trails on national forests suffer from a $314 million backlog in maintenance.

The Government Accountability Office report found only a quarter of the national forest system's 158,000 miles of trails meets quality standards, so people use them less and the environment is damaged.

It adds that the U.S. Forest Service relies heavily on volunteers to maintain trails but does not train its staff to work effectively with them.

Jim Furnish is a retired Forest Service deputy chief for the forest system. He says the problem goes back decades, and results from the Forest Service and Congress making recreation a low priority.

Forest Service spokesman Larry Chambers says the agency agrees with the findings and will look for ways to close the funding gap.

Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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