The Outdoor Industry Association (OIA) praised President Obama’s focus on public lands in his FY 2010 budget.
The president’s budget proposes to increase funding for the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF), the U.S. Forest Service and the Department of Interior, which manages the National Park Service (NPS) and the Bureau of Land Management (BLM).
It also sets up a dedicated fund for fire suppression at the BLM and the Forest Service, a leading priority for OIA, according to a news release. The budget increases the LWCF by more than $114 million for a total request of $420 million in 2010. That will put the administration on track to fully fund LWCF programs at $900 million by 2014, the budget says.
The budget includes $12 billion for the Interior Department, which includes a $100 million increase for NPS operations. It also designates an additional $25 million in dollars to be matched by private donations to help the Park Service undertake signature projects in advance of the Park Service’s centennial in 2016.
President Obama’s budget would set up a contingency fund for firefighting costs that would be available as a reserve if the Forest Service or BLM deplete their regularly budgeted firefighting dollars. This scenario happens almost every year and the recreation budget at the Forest Service is one of many agency budgets that have been raided as a result. The budget also provides a $50 million increase for national forest operations.
“President Obama’s budget proposal is welcomed by the outdoor recreation industry and the millions of Americans who hike, bike, ski, camp and paddle. A robust and well-directed budget for our public lands is certain to drive economic growth for companies in the outdoor industry,” said Frank Hugelmeyer, president of OIA. “We are especially pleased to see a strong commitment to the LWCF, which funds close-to-home recreation opportunities. This has long been the number one funding priority for OIA and we are encouraged by the president’s pledge to return the program to full-funding,” said Hugelmeyer.