NOVA Cuts Impact Cle Elum Trails
Over the weekend, the Ellensburg Daily Record published a good article on how the new state budget will affect trails in the Cle Elum Ranger District. It's definitely worth a read if you like hiking in the Teanaway area and are concerned about whether those trails will get seasonal maintenance.
To summarize, the state legislature decided to pay for part of the Washington State Parks budget by taking money from the state's Non-Highway and Off-Road Vehicle Account (NOVA). NOVA is generated from state gas tax revenue and is distributed to pay for maintenance of trails on federal, state, county and municipal public lands. Much of the U.S. Forest Sevice's Cle Elum Ranger District pays for its annual trail maintenance budget through NOVA grants.
According to the article, these grants account for up to 70 percent of the Cle Elum Ranger District's summer trail maintenance costs. The district usually hires a staff of 23 seasonal trail workers, but this may be reduced to zero because of cuts to NOVA.
Tim Foss, the district's manager of trails and wilderness, said in the article:
“Probably most hiker-only trails aren’t going to be cleared — logged out to remove downed trees — this year,” he said. “Hikers are going to be scrambling over logs.”
WTA will certainly lend a hand with volunteer support in the Cle Elum district, but volunteers alone can't do the work of clearing those trails.
While WTA is pleased that no state parks will have to close this year due to budget cuts, we’re saddened that NOVA dollars will not be available for grants to deserving agencies such as Washington State Department of Natural Resources and the U.S. Forest Service. If revenue from the recently passed State Parks "opt-in" fee of $5 on motor vehicle registrations is above projections--which is a likely scenario--we believe the legislature should move quickly to restore funding for the NOVA grant program.
That money was stolen from the NOVA fund that was payed for by OHV users and should only be used for what it was intended for. Quit looking for someone else to pay for your trail systems and pay for them YOURSELF! We do!
Angliagasser on May 21, 2009 08:39 AM
Angliagasser on May 21, 2009 08:46 AM
tod701 @ 08:15 - Thursday, May 21st, 2009
One of the “outdoor recreation programs” that had its funding diverted is the Nonhighway and Offroad Vehicle Activities (NOVA) program.
The NOVA program is funded by fuel tax from fuel used in offroad vehicles and offroad vehicle license tabs. It was created as a substitute for individual fuel tax refunds because it is a violation of Article II, Section 40 of the State Constitution to use fuel tax money for anything but roads. As a refund to the people that paid the fuel tax on fuel used in offroad vehicles these funds were to be used to facilitate offroad vehicle activities. Now that the funds have been diverted, this is no longer a refund and is nothing more than an unconstitutional theft of these funds.
If the shoe was on the other foot and IF you had had your money given to the OHVers you guys would be very pissed off.
Our fine Governor Gregoire is nothing more then just a thief!
Angliagasser on May 21, 2009 08:59 AM
Why are the "Hiker only" trails not being logged out? Because dirtbikers clear and maintain there own trails in large part. This is partially a result of wta and other groups raiding our funds and demonizing our user group. Shame on the wta and other anti-groups, you make your bed now lay in it!
There is more than enough room for all user groups don't be an elitist hater!
ridetilludie on May 21, 2009 09:08 AM
Andrew Engelson on May 21, 2009 11:51 AM
Angliagasser on May 21, 2009 01:00 PM
Don Larson on May 21, 2009 12:59 PM
DNR Plans Closures
"As you now know, the state legislature diverted our yearly $1.5 million in NOVA grant funding to Washington State Parks for at least the next 2 years. These grant funds are critical in keeping 110 gas-tax supported facilities and trails open and safe. In addition, our general fund budget was reduced by 60 percent, leaving us with only $200,000 a year to maintain 33 recreation facilities and 167 miles of trails. This includes facilities such as Mt. Si, McLean Creek, Lake Spokane, and Ahtanum Snow Park.
"As a result of these budget reductions, we are forced to make some painful decisions that will require closing some of our recreation areas—either temporarily or permanently...
"In cutting our funding, the legislature gave us authorization to close up to 40 recreation sites...
"At this point, we don’t have a specific date set for when closures will go into affect. We will keep you updated and in the loop as we work through this difficult process.
"Many of you have asked me why DNR can’t rely on volunteers to keep these areas open. Volunteers and user groups are very important to our program and help keep our recreation areas safe, clean, and enjoyable places for the public. We are committed to continue working with these dedicated people.
"But the reality is much of our budget shortage can’t be made up for with volunteer time. For example, pumping outhouses requires professionals at a cost of $750 each pump out. Replacing a vandalized picnic table costs $500. $20 to replace signs, etc..."
Rod Farlee on May 27, 2009 01:17 PM