Mountain Bike Trails in Danger in Florida, New York

florida-trails-endangerment-current

URGENT! Proposed budget cuts in both Florida and New York are threatening to close not just trails, but entire State Parks and the offices and departments that run them.

From Gone Riding, a Southeast race promoter based in Ocala, FL, comes word that Senator Charlie Dean is proposing to close the OGT (Office of Greenways and Trails).  This is the group that OMBA and others have worked with so successfully to open and maintain many, many miles of cycling paths and trails throughout Central Florida.  This isn’t the first time this area has come under threat, but it’s the latest potential victim of the overall crappy economy and ever-shrinking income from things like property and sales tax as consumers make and spend less. (for more, read after the break and thisdo this TODAY, FL Senate may vote on this TODAY!)

In New York, two members of the Finger Lakes Mountain Bike Club recently met with state senators in Albany to discuss the recent $70 million cut to the Environmental Protection Fund (EPF), which already had had $500 million siphoned from it’s coffers and diverted to other, unrelated programs over the past few years.  This cut eliminates money for land acquisition, trail maintenance and trail and park projects.  There’s even a proposal to just close state parks (but then where’s the money going to come from to fight the inevitable increase in obesity?)

What You Can Do:

Write your Senators.  Links and email addresses for the people involved for these states are after the break.  These are just two examples…likely there are similar issues in your state, or there will be soon.  Let the people in office know that state parks, trails and outdoor recreational facilities are vitally important to our nation’s health, character and enjoyment.  Most parks and recs departments are already cash strapped and running on fumes…tell them to pull funds from other departments or train employees to handle a broader spectrum of work.  For example, our local deeds office employees had extra time on their hands with the drop in home sales, so they were trained to handle other duties and now assist with other city and/or county offices.  This keeps people employed and makes the most of their time.  That, and unpaid two-day furloughs now and then.

For context, check the links and read the news articles above, then contact the appropriate person.  Lethargy is your enemy.  Five minutes of your day now means trails to ride in the future.

Florida Contacts:

Baker.carey.web@flsenate.gov
Dean.charles.web@flsenate.gov
Oelrich.steve.web@flsenate.gov
Lawson.alfred.web@flsenate.gov
Aronberg.dave.web@flsenate.gov

Committee page for the Florida Senate.

New York Contacts:

athompso@senate.state.ny.us
winner@senate.state.ny.us
Governor David Paterson (contact form)
Find and contact other NY Senators (link)

Comments

Ghost Rider - 03/16/10 - 9:15pm

Just heard that the OGT is safe here in Florida:

http://alansnel.blogspot.com/2010/03/looks-like-emails-saved-florida-state.html

Tyler (Editor) - 03/16/10 - 10:02pm

Awesome! Thanks for the update, Ghostie.

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