June 12, 2017 Mr. Mick Mulvaney, Director Office of Management and Budget 725 17th St., NW Washington, DC 20503
Dear Director Mulvaney:
The 124 undersigned organizations represent millions of Americans who partake in outdoor recreation on this nation’s forests, parks, and other public lands. Our members ski, climb, mountain bike, paddle, hike, and camp on public lands and they reap enormous benefits from these experiences. To pursue these activities, our members depend on having access to federal lands where they can immerse themselves in nature with their friends and families, away from urban areas and development.
On March 13th 2017, the President signed Executive Order 13781 directing you to develop a plan for reorganizing the executive branch including recommending agencies, programs, and functions for elimination.1 Subsequently, you launched a 28-day comment period asking the American public to weigh in on how to reorganize, reduce, and eliminate agencies.2 We write to you today to express our strong support for continued and robust investment in the conservation and recreation programs of the land management agencies: the U.S. Forest Service, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, National Park Service, and the Bureau of Land Management. Together, these agencies administer on behalf of the American people 674 million acres of lands that see over half a billion visits annually.3
For a modest investment (less than 0.4% of the federal budget), our federal land management agencies generate innumerable benefits worth billions of dollars. They provide us clean water and air, trails and campgrounds, and unmatchable outdoor recreation experiences. Most importantly, they provide the recreation infrastructure and opportunities that fuel a $887 billion outdoor recreation economy that generates 7.6 million jobs.4 In the 12 Western states alone, the agencies manage 193,500 miles of hiking trails and 12,659 miles of mountain bike trails. Likewise, virtually all backcountry skiing, 43% of whitewater paddling, and 71% of climbing in the West occurs on lands managed by these agencies5.
Funding the recreation and conservation programs of these agencies has an outsized impact and is a great investment for the American people. Consider that recreational visits to parks, forests, refuges, and other public lands generate $33 billion in direct spending and nearly 600,000 jobs, and contribute $37 billion to GDP annually.6 Consider also that the clean water that our national forests provide to over 66
2 82 Fed. Reg. 22355 (March 15, 2017)
3 See US Forest Service, 2012. National Visitor Use Monitoring Report. Available at: https://www.fs.fed.us/recreation/programs/nvum/2012%20National_Summary_Report_061413.pdf. Page 24; National Park Service. Annual Visitation Highlights. Available at: https://www.nps.gov/subjects/socialscience/annual-visitation-highlights.htm; Department of the Interior, Bureau of Land Management. 2015. Public Lands Statistics. Page 186; U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, 2015.
4 Outdoor Industry Association, 2017. The Outdoor Recreation Economy. Available at: https://outdoorindustry.org/resource/2017-outdoor-recreation-economy-report/
5 Data from Winter Wildlands Alliance, American Whitewater, and Mountain Project 6 U.S. Department of the Interior Economic Report, FY 2015. Prepared by the Department of the Interior Office of Policy Analysis, June 17, 2016. Available at: https://www.doi.gov/sites/doi.gov/files/uploads/fy2015_doi_econ_report_2016-06-20.pdf. Table 2-2. See also US Forest Service, 2012. National Visitor Use Monitoring Report. Available at: https://www.fs.fed.us/recreation/programs/nvum/2012%20National_Summary_Report_061413.pdf. Page 24
million people in 3,400 communities in 33 states is worth over $7.2 billion annually.7 In that same vein, clean air, clean water and other ecological services provided by our National Wildlife Refuges provide $32.3 billion in benefits to local communities.8
Outdoor recreationists understand the link between healthy lands and healthy lifestyles. We therefore urge you not to cut – and in fact invest more – in the conservation and recreation programs administered by the US Forest Service, Bureau of Land Management, US Fish and Wildlife Service, and the National Park Service. Likewise, we fully support the Environmental Protection Agency. The EPA and its programs ensure that our public lands provide clean air, clean water, and a healthy environment. Without the EPA our public lands will lose these essential qualities.
While we disagree with the premise that drastic changes to our federal land management agencies are necessary, to the extent that you intend to reorganize and possibly eliminate agencies, we respectfully request that you consider the importance of the federal land management agencies and their conservation and recreation programs. These include, but certainly are not limited to, the 1) Forest Service’s Recreation, Wilderness, and Heritage; Legacy Roads and Trails; Trails; Land Management Planning, Assessment, and Monitoring; and Fisheries and Wildlife Habitat Management Programs; 2) the BLM’s Recreation Resources Management, National Landscape Conservation System; 3) The Operation of the National Park System, National Recreation and Preservation, and many other accounts within the National Park Service budget; and 4) Cross-cutting programs like the Land and Water Conservation Fund.
Thank you for considering these comments.
Sincerely, Adam Cramer Executive Director Outdoor Alliance Washington D.C.
On behalf of the following organizations:
Alaska Brian Okonek President Alaska Quiet Rights Coalition Anchorage, AK
7 USDA Forest Service. Information on Water Resources. Available at: https://www.fs.usda.gov/wps/portal/fsinternet/cs/detail/!ut/p/z0/04_Sj9CPykssy0xPLMnMz0vMAfIjo8zijQwgwNHCwN_DI8zPyBcqYKBfkO2oCABZcx5g/?position=Contribution%20Content.Html&pname=Forest%20Service&ss=119995&navtype=SubNavigation&pnavid=110140100000000&navid=110140110000000&ttype=detail&cid=stelprdb5107778
8 Southwick Associates, 2011. The Economics Associated with Outdoor Recreation, Natural Resources Conservation and Historic Preservation in the United States For: The National Fish and Wildlife Foundation. Available at: https://www.fws.gov/refuges/news/pdfs/TheEconomicValueofOutdoorRecreation%5B1%5D.pdf
Alabama Tom Nelson, DVM President Northeast Alabama Bicycle Association Annsiton, AL Mary Anne Swanstrom President SORBA Huntsville Huntsville, AL James Wells President Southeastern Alabama Mountainbikers Dothan, AL Joe Fuller Chapter President West Alabama Mountain Bike Association Tuscaloosa, AL Arizona Lorraine Montuori President Desert Foothills Mountain Bike Association Cave Creek, AZ Brent Roberts Board President Prescott mountain Bike Alliance Prescott, AZ Michael Bonnette President Rim Country Mountain Biking Association Payson, AZ California Steve Messer President Concerned Off-Road Bicyclists Association Los Angeles, CA Nate Greenberg President Eastern Sierra Avalanche Center Mammoth Lakes, CA Kenji Haroutunian President Friends Of Joshua Tree Joshua Tree, CA Darrel Jury President Friends of Plumas Wilderness Meadow Valley, CA Wendy Schneider Executive Director Friends of the Inyo Bishop, CA Tom Johnson Board President Mammoth Lakes Recreation Mammoth Lakes, CA John Wentworth President/CEO Mammoth Lakes Trails and Public Access Foundation Mammoth Lakes, CA Geoffrey McQuilkin Executive Director Mono Lake Committee Lee Vining, CA Kevin Loomis President San Diego Mountain Biking Association San Diego, CA Steve Larson President SHARE Mountain Bike Club Corona Del Mar, CA Greg Williams Executive Director Sierra Buttes Trail Stewardship Graeagle, CA Alan Jacoby Board President Sierra Eastside Mountain Bike Association (SEMBA) Mammoth Lakes, CA Marcus Libkind President Snowlands Network Campbell, CA David Reichel President Tahoe Backcountry Alliance South Lake Tahoe, CA Colorado Erik Murdock Policy Director Access Fund Boulder, CO Jonathan Cox President Advance Colorado Fund – Bailey Hundo Palmer Lake, CO Maria Povec Policy Director American Alpine Club Golden, CO Jason Bertolacci Co-founder berbur, llc Denver, CO Suzanne Webel President Boulder Area Trails Coalition Boulder, CO J.B. Haab Boulder Climbing Community Boulder, CO Steven Watts Executive Director Boulder Mountainbike Alliance Boulder, CO Kate Rau Executive Director Colorado High School Cycling League Boulder, CO Gary Moore Executive Director Colorado Mountain Bike Association Denver, CO Julie Mach Conservation Director Colorado Mountain Club Golden, CO Keith Bauer Executive Director Crested Butte Nordic Crested Butte, CO Robert Andrew President Cyclists 4 Community Boulder, CO Adam Haid Founder / Board Member Erie Singletrack Advocates Erie, CO Nicholas Jimroglou President High County River Rafters Wheat Ridge, CO David Wiens Executive Director International Mountain Bicycling Association Boulder, CO Kenny Bearden Executive Director Overland Mountain Bike Club Fort Collins, CO Lindsay Bourgoine Manager, Advocacy & Campaigns Protect Our Winters Boulder, CO Mike Pritchard Executive Director Roaring Fork Mountain Bike Association Aspen, CO Mike Smith Board Member Salida Mountain Trails Salida, CO Maureen Hall President Silent Tracks Crested Butte, CO Al Head Stewardship Coordinator The Golden Giddyup Golden, CO Delaware Dave Ellegood President Cape Fear SORBA Wilmington, DE Florida Kevin Phelps Trail Director Flagler Area Biking SORBA Palm Coast, FL Joseph Schwarz Board Member Florida Mudcutters Fort Myers, FL Jared Hartman President Ocala Mountain Bike Association Ocala, FL Jose Sanchez President Tallahassee Mountain Bike Association Tallahassee, FL Georgia Brett Davidson President Atlanta Chapter of the Southern Off Road Bicycle Association Atlanta, GA Andrew Kloster President CVA SORBA Columbus, GA Mike Palmeri President Ellijay Mountain Bike Association Ellijay, GA Lisa Broughton President Gwinnett Area Trail Riders Lawrenceville, GA Lisa Randall Owner Mountain Goat Adventures Canton, GA Chris Sieverson President SORBA West Georgia Hiram, GA Jay Wilkes President SORBA Woodstock Woodstock, GA Tom Sauret Executive Director Southern Off-Biciyle Association Gainesville, GA Woody and Kathy Wood Owners Woody’s Mountain Bikes Helen, GA Idaho John Robison Public Lands Director Idaho Conservation League Boise, ID Sarah Michael President Nordic and Backcountry Skiers Alliance of Idaho Sun Valley, ID Tim Adams Executive Director Teton Valley Trails And Pathways Driggs, ID Mark Menlove Executive Director Winter Wildlands Alliance Boise, ID Brett Stevenson Board Chair Wood River Bicycle Coalition Sun Valley, ID Mississippi Timothy Phelps President North Mississippi Trail Alliance Olive Branch, MS Jeremy Polk President Tri-County Mountain Bike Association Madison, MS Montana Tom Kohley Chairman Beartooth Recreational Trails Association Red Lodge, MT Lance Pysher President Bitteroot Backcountry Cyclists Hamilton, MT Greg Peters President Montana Backcountry Alliance Missoula, MT Ben Horan Executive Director MTB Missoula Missoula, MT Hilary Eisen Member Representative Outdoor Alliance Montana Bozeman/Missoula, MT Chad Broderius Chair Pedal United Billings/Red Lodge, MT Ian Jones President Southwest Montana Mountain Bike Association Bozeman, MT Claudine Tobalske WMTCC Chair Western Montana Climbers Coalition Missoula, MT North Carolina Kevin Colburn National Stewardship Director American Whitewater Cullowhee, NC John Gannon President Nantahala Area Southern Off-Road Bicycling Association Cullowhee, NC Jack Brown President Northwest North Carolina Mountain Bike Alliance Lenoir, NC Stephen C. Williams President Piedmont Fat Tire Society Greensboro, NC Emily Watts President Tarheel Trailblazers Charlotte, NC David Houskeeper President Triangle Off-Road Cyclists Morrisville, NC New Hampshire Tyler T. Ray Granite Chief Granite Backcountry Alliance North Conway, NH New Jersey Ellen Moskowitz Trustee Kayak and Canoe Club of New York New Jersey New Mexico Daniel Roberts President Albuquerque Mountain Bike Association Albuquerque, NM Mary Ann DeBoer President Chama Valley Outdoor Club Chama, NM Shelley Longmire Current board member Santa Fe Fat Tire Society Santa Fe, NM Nevada Paul W. Papa President Southern Nevada Mountain Bike Association (SNMBA) Las Vegas, NV New York Rob Cook President Cycle-CNY: Chapter of International Mountain Bicycling Association Ithaca, NY Christine Guarino Vice President Fats in the Cats Kingston, NY Christopher Trombley Program Director NYCMTB New York, NY Margaret Siller Treasurer Zoar Valley Paddling Club Buffalo, NY Oregon Russell Plaeger Restoration Coordinator Bark Portland, OR Lance Colburn Secretary Blue Mountain Singletrack Trails Club La Grande, OR Russell Pascoe Conservation Chair Lower Columbia Canoe Club Portland, OR Adam Baylor Stewardship and Communications Manager Mazamas Portland, OR Chris Rotvik President Northwest Trail Alliance Portland, OR Russ Pascoe Board member Oregon Kayak and Canoe Club Portland, OR Robert Alan Ping Chief Instigator and NCIA race league director Oregon Youth Mountain Biking Portland, OR Wayne Clark Board President Team Dirt Corvallis, OR Pennsylvania Lisa Zaverack President Anthractite Mountain Pedalers Forty Fort, PA David A. Kurtz Assistant Scoutmaster Boy Scout Troop 32 State College, PA David A. Kurtz President and Chief Coach Mach One Slalom Team Bellefonte, PA Cat Newsom President Southeastern Pennsylvania Trail Riders Philadelphia, PA South Carolina Steve Masone President Midlands SORBA Columbia, SC Tennessee Jason Campbell President SORBA Mid TN Nashville, TN Utah Tracy Bentley Shop Owner Chile Pepper Bike Shop Moab, UT Lukas Brinkerhoff President Dixie Mountain Bike Trails Association St. George, UT Tracy Bentley Board Chair Moab Mountain Bike Association Moab, UT Trina Hedrick Secretary-Treasurer Northeastern Utah Mountain Bikers Vernal, UT Chris Adams Board President Wasatch Backcountry Alliance Salt Lake City, UT Virginia Mike Aronoff Owner Canoe Kayak and Paddle Co. LLC Vienna, VA Ernest Rodriguez President Mid-Atlantic Off-Road Enthusiast (MORE) Fairfax, VA Greg Rollins President rvaMORE Richmond, VA Washington Gus Bekker President El Sendero Backcountry Ski and Snowshoe Club Wenatchee, WA Yvonne Kraus Executive Director Evergreen Mountain Bike Alliance Seattle, WA John Latta Founder Inland Northwest Backcountry Alliance Spokane, WA Jon Hoekstra Executive Director Mountains to Sound Greenway Seattle, WA David Mainer President Paddle Trails Canoe Club (200+ members) Seattle, WA Luke Bakken Conservation Committee Chair Spokane Mountaineers Spokane, WA Jennie Goldberg Director The League of Northwest Whitewater Racers Seattle, WA Katherine Hollis Conservation and Advocacy Director The Mountaineers Seattle, WA Shanna Gachen Membership Chair Washington Kayak Club Seatttle, WA Andrea Imler Advocacy Director Washington Trails Association Seattle, WA Wyoming Charles Manganiello Executive Director Togwotee Backcountry Alliance Lander, WY Marco Restani Executive Director Wyoming Wilderness Association Sheridan, WY cc. Honorable Ryan Zinke, Secretary of the Interior Honorable Sonny Perdue, Secretary of Agriculture Senate Interior Appropriations Committee House Interior Appropriations Committee