Maintenance of Non-Motorized Trails on National Forests in Idaho: Funding Background and Opportunities for State Assistance
(PAG Issue Brief, no. 21) National forests in Idaho, managed by the USDA Forest Service (USFS) contain about 10,000 miles of non-motorized trails. Data are not readily available on the amount of trail maintenance conducted annually on only non-motorized trails; therefore, all trail maintenance—both motorized and non-motorized—is reported. Although Idaho’s national forests saw increasing amounts of trail maintenance over the last decade due in part to increased funding from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (i.e., the stimulus bill), the proportion of Idaho’s national forest trails that met National Quality Standards was steady over the last decade, averaging 30%. Without additional funding for maintenance through existing or new dedicated sources, non‐motorized trail opportunities on Idaho’s national forests are likely to decline. Funding mechanisms used by other states to fund general outdoor recreation programs included user fees, motor fuel tax allocation, excise or sales taxes on equipment, lottery proceeds, income tax form checkoffs, and real estate transfer taxes. In many of these cases state funding can only be used on state lands and is not directly transferable to assistance on federal lands. However, elements of these state systems have potential for adoption to assist with non-motorized trail maintenance on Idaho’s national forests.