Outdoors

Colville National Forest reports alarming budget decline, especially in recreation

Colville National Forest crews didn't have a chance to get out and clear blowdowns off Bead Lake Trail 127 before the Inland Northwest Hikers Meetup group hit the trail on April 3, 2011. (Rich Landers)
Colville National Forest crews didn't have a chance to get out and clear blowdowns off Bead Lake Trail 127 before the Inland Northwest Hikers Meetup group hit the trail on April 3, 2011. (Rich Landers)

PUBLIC LANDS — Federal resource acengies are suffering big budget hits, as I pointed out on my Sunday Outdoors story.

Here's a spotlight on the issues, using an example close to home:

ALARMING NUMBERS FROM THE COLVILLE NF

The 1.1 million-acre Colville National Forest spans 3 counties in Washington. This year its overall operating budget is about $16 million, employing about 150 permanent staff and 100 temporary workers. Forest officials round out the figures with these trends:

62 percent decrease in employees since the early 1990s.

5 percent reduction in overall budget in each

of past four years.

46 percent decrease in road maintenance contracting

budget in the past two years.

64 percent reduction in the already meager recreation budget expected in the next year.




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Rich Landers

Rich Landers’ Outdoors blog


Rich Landers writes and photographs stories for a wide range of outdoors coverage, including a Sunday feature section and a Thursday column. He also writes the Outdoors Blog.


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