Great American Outdoors Act Funds Local Projects | Lumber Heritage Region

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Great American Outdoors Act Funds Local Projects

Written by Jswatsworth

Warren, PA, April 21, 2021— The Allegheny National Forest is pleased to announce that as part of the Great American Outdoors Act four local projects have been selected for fiscal year 2021. The selected projects will be the first round of improvements to address deferred maintenance on the Forest while improving our visitor’s experience.

These projects are part of the $285 million investment made possible by the newly created National Parks and Public Land Legacy Restoration Fund, established in 2020 by the Great American Outdoors Act. These funds will allow the USDA Forest Service to implement more than 500 infrastructure improvement projects essential to the continued use and enjoyment of national forests and grasslands. These funds are critical in helping to reduce the Forest Service’s $5.2 billion deferred maintenance backlog and are an important step in restoring what our visitors love about national forests in the Eastern Region.

This year’s selected projects at Allegheny National Forest are:

  • Longhouse Scenic Drive and Jakes Rocks Road Design – This project will result in full design plans and specifications for phase one of the Longhouse Scenic Drive and Jakes Rocks Road Rehabilitation Project. Three additional phases will comprise the project to repave 14.5 miles of roadway, replace 190 culverts and make public safety improvements. All phases are expected to be completed over the next three to four years.
  • Kiasutha Recreation Area Redevelopment – This project includes demolition of three aging restroom buildings, installation of two new vault toilets, wiring electricity to 17 additional campsites and replacing the boat ramp.
  • Sugar Run Bridge – This project will replace Sugar Run Bridge located on FR 137 in McKean County. Structural failings have lowered the bridge’s vehicle weight limit to three-tons. The new bridge will allow the resumption of commercial truck traffic. Work is expected to start in late summer and take three to four weeks to complete.
  • Trail Deferred Maintenance – Through the employment of American Conservation Experience (ACE) youth crews, this project will complete trail work on the Morrison and Minister Creek Trails.

The Great American Outdoors Act annually authorizes funding under the Legacy Restoration Fund through fiscal year 2025. Forest Service economists estimate that projects funded with these dollars will support roughly 4,400 jobs and contribute $420 million to the gross domestic product.

Forest Service infrastructure supports more than 300 million recreationists, first responders such as wildland firefighters, and other users of Forest Service roads. Each year, visitors to the national forests contribute almost $11 billion to the U.S. economy, which sustains more than 148,000 jobs.

For more information on these projects please contact Christopher Leeser, Public Affairs Officer at christopher.leeser@usda.gov

Background

The Great American Outdoors Act responds to the growing $5.9 billion backlog of deferred maintenance on national forest and grasslands, which includes $3.7 billion for roads and bridges and $1.5 billion for visitor centers, campgrounds and other facilities. The Forest Service currently administers more than 370,000 miles of roads, 13,400 bridges, 159,000 miles of trails, 1,700 dams and reservoirs, 1,500 communications sites, 27,000 recreation sites, and 40,000 facilities of other types. In addition to helping address deferred maintenance for these critical facilities and infrastructure, the Great American Outdoors Act will help the Forest Service to continue supporting rural economies and communities in and around national forests and grasslands across the country.

The attached photos may are part of the public domain please credit USDA / Richard Hatfield. The first image shows the Entrance sign to the above-mentioned Kiasutha Recreation Area. The Second image is of the ageing boat ramp that will be replaced at Kiasutha Recreation Area.