Stimulus funding benefits Wayne National Forest facilities, trails

Published 10:04 am Thursday, July 30, 2009

NELSONVILLE — Forest Supervisor Jo Reyer announces the Wayne National Forest in southeastern Ohio has received $1.7 million from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA). The funds will pay for needed improvements to various forest facilities and trails projects.

U.S. Department of Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack made the announcement along with other projects last week.

A total of 191 projects, funded at more than $274 million, are located on public lands managed by the U.S. Forest Service in 32 states.

“The Recovery Act projects we’ve just announced are central to creating jobs and building a better, stronger economy in the future,” said Secretary Vilsack. “These projects exemplify President Obama’s commitment to sustainability, reducing our environmental footprint, and increasing energy efficiency, which will benefit the 178 million people who visit the national forests each year, while generating additional tourism and stimulating local economies.”

Wayne National Forest project highlights include the following efforts:

Within 12 months, $1.3 million will be spent on a variety of projects. The funds will finance projects that will improve over 120 miles of motorized and non-motorized trails within the boundary of Wayne National Forest.

The Ironton Ranger District will receive $300,000 to fund trail improvements. Much of the work on all-terrain vehicle trails will be surface and base work, as well as drainage, signage and bridge repairs.

Another $400,000 will purchase gravel that will be used on Forest-wide watershed, trail, and road projects.

Within the next 12 months, $275,000 will be spent in Lawrence County to repair the wastewater handling and disposal system at the Lake Vesuvius Furnace recreation site.

The improvements to the 1930’s era system will ensure the public will not be exposed to health and safety risks due to the potential for surface water contamination.

Also in Lawrence County, $130,000 will fund repairs to three Forest earthen dams; Timbre Ridge, Smith Hollow, and Brady. Repairs include work on emergency spillways, outlet structures, valves, and embankments.

Across the country, the Forest Service trails system provides access to a wide diversity of national forest users, including hikers, horseback riders, mountain bikers, cross-country skiers, snowmobilers, and all-terrain vehicle enthusiasts.

As with the roads and trails system, there is currently a large backlog of maintenance needs for public facilities.