The U.S. House Committee on Agriculture has unanimously approved the National Forest Service Trail Stewardship Act of 2015 (HR 845).

The bill, introduced by Congresswomen Cynthia Lummis (R-WY) and Tim Walz (D-MN), would direct the Forest Service to take several actions to help address the current trail maintenance backlog that is adversely impacting all trail users on many National Forests, including equestrians.

“The recreational horse industry contributes $32 billion a year to the economy and supports nearly 435,000 jobs nationwide,” said American Horse Council (AHC) President Julie Broadway. “The industry is dependent on access to public lands and well maintained trails and the current Forest Service trail maintenance backlog is a serious threat to equestrians and all recreational users’ ability to enjoy our Nation Forests. The AHC, Backcountry Horsemen of America, the Wilderness Society, and many other recreational groups have all been working together to advance this bill.”

Added Paul Spitler, director of Wilderness Policy at The Wilderness Society, “Trails keep our public lands accessible for all Americans and fuel a powerful outdoor economy. They are simply too important to lose. This bill will keep more trails open, and that’s a good thing for anyone who uses or cares about our public lands.”

Donald Saner, chairman of the Back Country Horsemen of America, said, "The condition of trails on our National Forests has reached crisis level. Public access on many forest trails is either blocked by miles of downed timber or made unsafe from a lack of upkeep. The bill before Congress repre