Manchin Praises USA's Investments To Improve National Forest and Grassland Infrastructure
Investments made possible by Senator Manchin’s historic Great American Outdoors Act
Washington, DC – Today, U.S. Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV) announced the U.S. Department of Agriculture will invest $285 million to help the Forest Service address critical deferred maintenance and improve transportation and recreation infrastructure on national forests and grasslands. This funding was secured when Senator Manchin’s historic Great American Outdoors Act was enacted last year, providing $9.5 billion over five years to address the deferred maintenance backlog on our country’s public lands.
“Addressing the daunting deferred maintenance needs of our national parks, forests, and other Federal lands is long overdue and this investment by the USDA ensures our public land management agencies can continue their legacy of conservation and growing opportunities for outdoor recreation. I thank Secretary Vilsack for his strong commitment to implementing my bipartisan Great American Outdoors Act and I look forward to continuing to work closely together to ensure West Virginians are given new economic opportunities and our public lands are protected for generations to come,” said Senator Manchin.
This $285 million investment is made possible by the newly created National Parks and Public Land Legacy Restoration Fund, established by the Great American Outdoors Act. These funds will allow the Forest Service to implement more than 500 infrastructure improvement projects essential to the continued use and enjoyment of national forests and grasslands.
Project investments in 2021 will improve recreation facilities, visitor centers, dams and trails. Other projects aim to increase public access by restoring and repairing roads, trails, bridges, tunnels and parking areas.
Senator Manchin’s Great American Outdoors Act provides mandatory funding under the Legacy Restoration Fund annually through fiscal year 2025. Forest Service economists estimate that projects funded with these dollars will support roughly 4,400 jobs and contribute $420 million to the gross domestic product.
Each year, visitors to the national forests contribute almost $11 billion to the U.S. economy, which sustains more than 148,000 jobs.
Senator Manchin previously called on West Virginians to submit comments to the U.S. Forest Service to help ensure that the deferred maintenance needs of the Monongahela National Forest are prioritized and adequately addressed.
More information about these projects will be posted this week to www.fs.usda.gov/managing-land/gaoa.
To view a list of approved West Virginia deferred maintenance projects:
- Dolly Sods Wilderness - Public Access Project - Bridge Replacement over Red Creek (Tucker County, WV)
- Cranberry Wilderness - Public Access Project - Bridge Replacement over Williams River at Tea Creek (Pocahontas County, WV)
- Shavers Fork of the Cheat - Public Access and Habitat Improvement Project - Culvert Replacement and Bridge Construction on Forest Road 209 (Pocahontas County, WV)
- Lake Sherwood Campground—Outdoor Recreation project—Campground Rehabilitation (Greenbrier County, WV)
- Cranberry Wilderness Area - Public Access Project - Bridge Replacement at Tumbling Rock Run along Cranberry River (Pocahontas County, WV)
- Marlinton/White Sulphur District - Habitat Improvement Project - Culvert Replacement on Forest Road 296 and 298 in Laurel Run and 999 in Williams River (Pocahontas County, WV)
- Red Oak Knob - Public Service Facility - Renovations and Improvements to Red Oak Fire Tower (Webster County, WV)
- Laurel Fork North Wilderness - Public Access Project - Bridge Replacement at West Fork Greenbrier River (Pocahontas County, WV)
- Greenbrier Ranger District - Public Access Project - Bridge Replacement at North Fork River of Deer Creek (Pocahontas County, WV)
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