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U.S. DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR
BUREAU OF LAND MANAGEMENT NEWS RELEASE
California State Office
 
Release Date: 11/17/10
Contacts: Erin Curtis BLM , (916) 978-4622  
  John Heil U.S. Forest Service , (707) 562-9004  
News Release No. CASO_11172010

ARRA Funds Improvements to 200 Miles of Pacific Crest Trail ... and Counting


VALLEJO, Calif., Nov. 17, 2010 – Federal agencies, conservation groups and partners came together this month near Palm Springs to celebrate a year of major accomplishments along the Pacific Crest National Scenic Trail (PCNST). The event also marked the 10th anniversary of the Bureau of Land Management’s National Landscape Conservation System. The PCNST became a part of the system in 2000.

Funding from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (Recovery Act) was used to employ nearly 60 young adults with the Student Conservation Association to maintain, reconstruct and rehabilitate more than 200 miles of the 2,650-mile trail in the first year of a two-year project.

Representatives from the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), U.S. Forest Service (USFS), Pacific Crest Trail Association (PCTA), the Student Conservation Association (SCA), the Friends of the Desert Mountains, the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection and The Wildlands Conservancy took part in the gathering Nov. 5.
“Developing and nurturing sustainable partnerships is essential to increasing capacity for trail maintenance, as well as developing citizen stewards,” Beth Boyst, U.S. Forest Service, Pacific Crest Trail Program Manager, told a group gathered in the San Gorgonio Wilderness.

“Partnerships like this are critical to the success of the National Landscape Conservation System, now 10 years old,” said BLM-California’s Acting State Director Jim Abbott.
“This project is a great example of what can be accomplished working alongside our partners,” said Liz Bergeron, PCTA executive director.  “We are proud to be part of such a successful team effort.”

Through the Recovery Act, the USFS and BLM received a total of about $4 million for projects on the PCNST. The project trains and employs youth crews and young professionals in trail resource management, construction and maintenance work. Thanks to this funding, more than 34,000 hours of corps crew and volunteer time was devoted to the PCNST in 2010, and 58 young adults were employed by the Student Conservation Association under a cooperative agreement with the BLM and Forest Service.
Under the Recovery Act, Interior is making an investment in conserving America's timeless treasures – our stunning natural landscapes, our monuments to liberty, the icons of our culture and heritage – while helping American families and their communities prosper again. Interior is also focusing on renewable energy projects, the needs of American Indians, employing youth and promoting community service.

“With its investments of Recovery Act funds, the Department of the Interior and its bureaus are putting people to work today to make improvements that will benefit the environment and the region for many years to come,” Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar said.

Secretary Salazar pledged unprecedented levels of transparency and accountability in the implementation of the Department’s economic recovery projects. The public has been able to follow the progress of each project on www.recovery.gov and on www.interior.gov/recovery. Secretary Salazar appointed a Senior Advisor for Economic Recovery, Chris Henderson, and an Interior Economic Recovery Task Force to work closely with Interior’s Inspector General and ensure the recovery program is meeting the high standards for accountability, responsibility, and transparency set by President Obama.

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 About the Pacific Crest National Scenic Trail
The PCNST extends 2,650 miles from Mexico to Canada, spanning the states of California, Oregon and Washington. The trail crosses three National Monuments, seven National Parks, 25 National Forests, five Bureau of Land Management public lands units, 33 federally designated wilderness areas, as well as, several state and county parks, and tribal lands.
As defined in the National Trails System Act, National Scenic Trails are intended to provide for maximum outdoor recreation potential and for the conservation and enjoyment of the nationally significant scenic, historic, natural, or cultural qualities of the areas through which such trails may pass. Governance and stewardship occurs through extensive non-profit/public sector collaborations.  The PCTA is the primary non-profit partner in the management and operation of the PCNST. The Sacramento-based non-profit’s mission is to protect, preserve, and promote the PCNST as an internationally significant resource for the enjoyment of hikers and equestrians, and for the value that wild and scenic lands provide to all people.

About the National Landscape Conservation System (NLCS)
Created in 2000 by the Secretary of the Interior, the NLCS contains some of the West’s most spectacular landscapes. It includes over 886 federally recognized areas and approximately 27 million acres of national monuments, national conservation areas, wilderness areas, wild and scenic rivers, national scenic and historic trails, and conservation lands of the California Desert. The PCNST has been a part of the system since its inception.

About the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act
Projects funded by the Recovery Act helped to restore landscapes and habitat, spur renewable energy development on public lands, and create jobs.  Most Recovery Act-funded work on public lands was done by contractors who hired local workers, generating jobs and sustaining local job markets. Typical projects included work on hazardous fuels reduction; habitat restoration; remediating safety and environmental hazards on abandoned mine lands; construction and repair of roads, bridges and trails; maintenance of facilities; and renewable energy authorizations.

The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act passed earlier this year included $3 billion to the Department of the Interior and $28 billion to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, including $1.15 billion to the U.S. Forest Service.

The funds are part of a stimulus package that is an important component of the President's plan to jumpstart the economy and put a down payment on addressing long-neglected challenges so the country can thrive in the 21st century.




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Last updated: 11-18-2010