National Forest System Trail Stewardship Grants Awarded for 2023

National Forest System Trail Stewardship Grants Awarded for 2023

Six Projects on National Forest Land Open to Mountain Biking

The National Forest System Trail Stewardship (NFSTS) Funding Program awarded a total of $262,000 to 17 trail projects in US Forest Service regions across the nation. Six of the awards will benefit projects on trails open to mountain biking this field season. These projects received $53,449 for the maintenance and repair of trails and facilities over roughly 120 miles of trails open to mountain bikers. Each of these projects supports trail maintenance that is led by dedicated volunteers.

The NFSTS partnership grant is a joint partnership between the National Wilderness Stewardship Alliance and the US Forest Service, in collaboration with the International Mountain Bicycling Association (IMBA), American Trails, American Hiking Society, Back Country Horsemen of America, the National Off-Highway Vehicle Conservation Council, and the American Motorcyclist Association. The grants support organizations leading trail maintenance efforts in National Forests. 

“IMBA values the opportunity to work with the National Forest System and to strengthen connections among national trail organizations,” said IMBA Executive Director David Wiens. ”Trails are truly common ground for environmental stewardship and outdoor recreation. We will continue to engage and educate our IMBA Local partners on funding and advocacy opportunities that bring more trails close to home.”

This field season, IMBA Chapter Tuff Riders Los Alamos, NM was awarded $3,645 to clear and improve narrow portions of the Water Canyon trail. This investment improves 1.6 miles of trails, representing one percent of the trails maintained by the organization. For our clubs, support for even 1% of the trails they ride, love, and maintain is a big deal. 

The largest award this year was received by Friend of Panthertown, protecting and maintaining trails in the Panthertown Valley of North Carolina. $26,752 was awarded to the Friends of Panthertown’s stewardship project activating 250 volunteers to protect and maintain trails. The funds will be used for conservation and trail maintenance efforts across all 30 miles of Panthertown Valley trails.

“American Hiking Society is proud to join the National Wilderness Stewardship Alliance and the USDA Forest Service, in collaboration with the broader trails community, in support of funding for these projects,” said Tyler Ray, Senior Director of Programs and Advocacy, American Hiking Society. ”The National Forest System Trail Stewardship Partner Funding Program is a critical way to address trail maintenance by leveraging non-profit partnerships that improve access for hikers and all types of trail users across the Forest Service.”

IMBA congratulates the local stewardship groups and mountain bike organizations that received grants: 

Ascend Wilderness Experience

Backcountry Horsemen of California, Mother Lode Unit

Backcountry Horsemen of Oregon, Sourdough Unit

Bob Marshall Wilderness Foundation

Continental Divide Trail Coalition 

Friends of Panthertown 

Friends of Scotchman Peaks Wilderness 

Hungerford Trail Riders Association 

Tuff Riders Los Alamos, NM 

Munising Bay Trail Network 

New Mexico Volunteers for the Outdoors 

Post Wildfire OHV Recovery Alliance 

Southwest Montana Mountain Bike Association 

Vail Valley Mountain Trails Alliance

Volunteers for Outdoor Colorado

Washington Trails Association 

Wildlands Restoration Volunteers 

The NFSTS Funding Program is made possible through the National Forest System Trail Stewardship Act of 2016 which IMBA and partnering outdoor recreation and trails organizations helped to pass. The Act significantly increases the role of volunteers and partners in trail maintenance to aid in addressing backlogged projects such as signage upgrades, trail clearing, reroutes, bridge and structure repair, and improvements to drainage. The funding comes from dedicated USFS funds, demonstrating the significance the agency gives to the program. 


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