Tag Archives: Tom Tidwell

Forest Service backs off (for now) on reductions in Montana trail maintenance funding

Trail 2, mile 2, Flathead NF, July 10, 2014 - by W. K. Walker
Trail 2, mile 2, Flathead NF, July 10, 2014 – by W. K. Walker

In the face of some angry senatorial blow-back, the Forest Service has restored full trail maintenance funding in Region 1. For now . . .

The U.S. Forest Service has dropped its proposal to reduce funding for trail maintenance in Montana. The agency originally planned to reduce appropriations for Region One, which includes Montana, by 30 percent over the next three years. This included a potential loss of $1 million to Montana’s federal trail budget this year.

U.S. Sens. Steve Daines and Jon Tester criticized Forest Service Chief Tom Tidwell last week for failing to prioritize trail maintenance in Montana. The agency proposed revising its formula for funding trail maintenance across the U.S. with an added emphasis on higher population centers. In Region One, there are 28,000 miles of federally managed trails.

The agency on Friday said it would reconsider the formula change and withdrew the proposal.

Read more . . .

Also read: Forest Service backs off planned cuts in trail maintenance in Montana (Missoulian)

U.S. Forest Service chief favors wilderness conservation

The Forest Service chief weighs in on wilderness at the “Room to Roam” Wilderness Issues Lecture Series in Missoula . . .

The U.S. Forest Service was founded on the idea of conserving the nation’s wild country, and it will continue that mission even as the opportunities to do so shrink, according to agency Chief Tom Tidwell.

“Once you use wilderness for something else, for our generation or future generations it’s gone,” Tidwell said during a lecture at the University of Montana on Tuesday. “It can shrink, but not grow.”

But Tidwell said we need blank spaces on the map to, as conservationist Wallace Stegner put it, preserve the challenge against which we as a people were formed. Those places defined by the Wilderness Act of 1964 serve as both places of human refreshment and ecological reserve in a landscape that’s getting ever more crowded.

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