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Highlights

Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO reviewed the Forest Service's trail maintenance backlog, focusing on: (1) the extent, cause, and effects of the backlog; (2) Forest Service efforts to deal with the backlog; and (3) new trail construction needs.

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Recommendations

Recommendations for Executive Action

Agency Affected Recommendation Status
Department of Agriculture 1. To enable the Service and Congress to monitor the trail maintenance and reconstruction backlog and to prioritize trail program funding decisions, the Secretary of Agriculture should direct the Chief of the Forest Service to gather and make available to Congress, on a periodic basis, nationwide data on: (1) the trail maintenance and reconstruction work that needs to be done; (2) the severity of conditions requiring the work; and (3) the associated costs. The Service's new computerized information system may serve as a useful vehicle for gathering and reporting these data.
Closed - Implemented
Forest Service recreation staff have met to discuss how to obtain consistent reporting of backlog data. The Forest Service plans to include backlog amounts and work to be done in its existing reporting systems and report this annually. Elements to measure backlog severity are under development.

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