News

  • Federal Issues: Updates for MOGA Members


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    Forest Service Outlines Plans for Identifying Priority Trail Maintenance Areas by May 28th 

    By David Brown, America Outdoors Association
    Below are some excerpts (in italics) from the Forest Service on selection of priority trail maintenance areas as required in the National Forest Trails Stewardship Act of 2017. It is great to see the Forest Service embracing this legislation.

    Excerpt for the Forest Service’s Plan for Implementation of the Priority Trail Maintenance Program: 

    1. Each region will be required to submit at least 3 to 4 proposed priority areas to the Washington Office by April 15, 2017. The format for submitting regionally ranked and prioritized areas will be forthcoming. 

    Make Your Views Known:

    The following survey is not a Forest Service (or AOA) endorsed instrument but the Forest Service is apparently planning to use the results so feel free to use it to register your opinions:

    https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/TrailsActSurvey

    According to the Forest Service: The national selection of 9 to 15 priority areas will be completed by May 28, 2017. While only 9 to 15 priority areas will be nationally selected, regions are encouraged to implement additionally identified focus areas and approaches to incorporate increased contribution of trail maintenance by partners and volunteers on Agency trails.

    Here is what the agency is saying about the Outfitter and Guide Stewardship Credit Pilot Program:

    1. The identification of national forests participating in the outfitter and guide stewardship credit program will occur after April 2017 and before establishment of the program in November 2017, with additional information regarding submittal dates and selection criteria forthcoming.  
    2. In the meantime, interested outfitter and guides are encouraged to contact local Forest Service offices, along with regional office contacts, to discuss the new program. As we formalize establishment of this pilot program, early adopter forests will be welcome to begin implementing the program during the 2017 field season, subject to prior coordination with the associated Region and Washington Office. 

    Regional Points of Contact regarding the Identification of Trail Maintenance Priority Areas:

    Region Contact


    Write Your U.S. Representative and Ask Them to Co-sponsor H.R. 289, The GO Act

    MOGA has been working closely with America Outdoors and other organizations in support of HR 289 the Guide and Outfitters Act (GO ACT).

    • This act renews and streamlines the authority for permits issued to outfitters, guides, special events and similar activities in National Forests and on Bureau of Land Management lands.
    • Includes important provisions to streamline permit processing to reduce overhead costs and the time required to process permits.
    • Is essential to sustaining and growing the economic benefit provided by recreation activities on federal lands.

    Although the Montana Representative will not be known until after the Special election, you can rest assured one of the firt orders of business will be to decide a position on the GO Act. Send your letter to Rep Zinke’s office to be held for the new Montana Representative.

    To find your Representative go to US House of Representatives
    Be sure to include your zip code.

    Sample letter:

    Dear Representative _____________:

    I am asking for your support for H.R. 289, which renews and streamlines the authority for permits issued to outfitters, guides, special events and similar activities in National Forests and on Bureau of Land Management lands. This authority is currently expiring annually and needs to be reauthorized for a longer period to enable agencies to issue permits.

    H.R. 289 includes important provisions to streamline permit processing to reduce overhead costs and the time required to process permits. It also allows the Forest Service and BLM to provide more recreation opportunities where appropriate by issuing temporary permits for new uses that may be converted to longer term permits when the activity does not create unacceptable impacts. The GO Act is essential to sustaining and growing the economic benefit provided by recreation actvities on federal lands.

    Please co-sponsor and support the GO Act.

    Thank you.

    Sincerely,
    (Your name, company name and address
    Phone number)


    Secretary Zinke Signs Executive Order to Expand Recreation Opportunities on Federal Lands

    On his first day as Secretary, Ryan Zinke (pronounced ZINK-ee) issued two secretarial orders which expand access to public lands and increase hunting, fishing, and recreation opportunities nationwide. Citing an increasing number of road, trail and access closures, Secretary Zinke said, “This package of secretarial orders will expand access for outdoor enthusiasts and also make sure the community’s voice is heard.”

    The two secretarial orders include:

    • Secretarial Order No. 3347 advances conservation stewardship, improves game and habitat management, and increases outdoor recreation opportunities by directing bureaus and agencies to immediately identify areas where recreation and fishing can be expanded.
    • Secretarial Order No. 3346 overturns the recent ban of lead ammunition and fish tackle used on Fish and Wildlife Service lands, waters, and facilities. The order highlights the need for additional review and consultation with local stakeholders.
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