Hyperbole in relation to the hand wringing that services at thousand acres would drain from trail work elsewhere. I'll own that.
If you could ever find a demarcated budget that actually showed trail maintenance expenditure by National Forest vs revenues from access fees you'd see the trail work in relation is about as big as a dog poop floating down the Columbia.
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I asked for numbers like that and the response is that the way funds are mingled, it just isn't possible. Trail work involves salaries, equipment, etc, that are all used for other things too. Both the source and expenditures are deeply mingled and a clear number if just not available. There is no doubt whatever it is is a very small dollop of FS funds, but that wasn't the point. Given everything else it does, from fighting fires to building roads (some of which hikers really need but is not considered trail funds), a very small percentage is not necessarily a tiny amount. We all wish it was more like NP trail support, but it isn't.
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How is that even an acceptable response from the FS? They can't say how many miles? How many hours? If they have no clue how much they spend on it, what justification do they have to say the NWFP is needed for maintaining trails? Really, it just goes into a pot and all kinda works out? Certainly they must plan their trail work activities, do they trash the planning work after? Did they throw a dart at the wall to determine their deferred maintenance backlog?
The can't even by district or NF unit? They seem to be able to offer pretty granular numbers for fire work, logging bids, etc, am I really to believe that there's no shared resources between that and any other FS activities?
And at the same time GPNF for instance wants to spend millions on capital investments in NEW facilities across their district including in remote areas and redundant areas (bathroom less than a mile away), so that they may charge a fee. Yet they say they say they have unfunded deferred maintenance in the millions. I'm not sure what the justification is on building more things that will need expensive maintenance. Maybe they think they're gonna fee their way out of it? It will only increase the backlog if it's currently unfunded.
I'm not criticizing trail crews, but let's disabuse ourselves of the notion as recreationalists that the FS shares any basic interest at management levels, of simply hiking, jogging, etc disbursed camping in the woods, beyond monetizing and charging for access to public lands that they spend very very little of the access fees on.
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