Missoula, MT, May 18, 2023 – Today, the USDA Forest Service Northern Region (R1) announced an investment of $28.8 million from the Great American Outdoors Act (GAOA) to support 61 projects across north Idaho, Montana, and North Dakota in Fiscal Year 2023. These investments are made possible from the National Parks and Public Land Legacy Restoration Fund (LRF) established by the Great American Outdoors Act.
Corrie Kegel, R1 GAOA Program Coordinator, said “The Great American Outdoors Act allows the Forest Service and our many partners to repair, update, and modernize roads, campgrounds, trails, and other infrastructure across the Northern Region. At many of our recreation sites, this will look like repaired or new picnic tables, fire rings, signs, water systems, and vault toilets meeting accessibility requirements. For those who hike on trails or drive Forest Service roads, they will experience trail and road systems in better condition than they’ve been in years before this historic funding. We are proud of the work we have accomplished and are excited for the upcoming field season to continue to improve these special places appreciated and used by our public landowners.”
Since the creation of the GAOA, R1 has worked on 156 deferred maintenance projects; many of which are complex, multi-year projects. In total, R1 has invested approximately $81 million in the first three years of GAOA, with more projects planned in the final two years of the program.
To learn more about R1 GAOA activities, visit the R1 GAOA Webpage where you will find Fiscal Year 2021 through Fiscal Year 2023 projects and feature stories; two feature story excerpts below:
• Bob Marshall Wilderness Complex Trail Work: During the summer of 2022, the Helena-Lewis and Clark National Forest, Lincoln Ranger District worked with a Bob Marshall Wilderness Foundation trail crew to complete a trail puncheon that had washed out. They also worked with the Montana Conservation Corps on an upper section of trail in the Scapegoat Wilderness that needed retread, brushing, and drainage work. View Bob Marshall Wilderness Complex Trail Work story online
• Route of the Hiawatha: During the summer and fall of 2022, the Idaho Panhandle National Forests worked with partners and local contractors on resurfacing improvements on the Route of the Hiawatha. In FY23, the Route of the Hiawatha will see additional work funded on the tunnels and trestles, made possible by the Great American Outdoors Act. View Route of the Hiawatha story online.
For more information about the Forest Service implementation of the Great American Outdoors Act, visit the Forest Service GAOA Webpage