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Collaboration group nominates trail as ‘priority area’ for fed legislation

The Clearwater Basin Collaborative (CBC) has nominated a large swath of national forest system land in central Idaho for designation as a “priority area” for increased trail maintenance per provisions in the National Forest System Trails Stewardship Act (H.R. 845).

The legislation directs the Secretary of Agriculture to publish a national strategy to significantly increase the role of volunteers and partners for national forest system trail maintenance.

Dubbed the “Central Idaho Wilderness and Backcountry – Wild Lands, Wild Rivers and Wild Life” proposal, the CBC nominated all trails within the boundaries of the Salmon-Challis, Payette, and Nez Perce-Clearwater national forests as a priority area. The proposal also included all Selway-Bitterroot Wilderness lands (including wilderness within Montana) and lands within the boundaries of the three forests that are administered by neighboring units.

“We believe this proposal encompasses an area with exceptional recreational opportunities and an extreme need for trail maintenance,” explained CBC co-chairs Alex Irby and Dale Harris.

The nomination responded to a legislatively mandated comment period that ended Feb. 28. The CBC’s proposal was one of several for central Idaho that was submitted to the agency.

The Forest Service has until the end of May to select nine to 15 priority areas throughout the nation and to begin developing an approach to substantially increase trail maintenance accomplishments within each priority area.

If the CBC’s or a similar proposal is selected, Irby and Harris envision the need to convene a consortium of local, state and national partners to work with the Forest Service to leverage the partnerships and resources necessary to increase trail maintenance up to 100 percent during a five-year period.

The Clearwater Basin Collaborative, or CBC, is a diverse group of individuals who work collaboratively to enhance and protect the ecological and economic health of the forests, rivers and communities within the Clearwater Basin by working across a diversity of interests.


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