Is there really that big of a shortage of funds?
One of the reoccurring themes of all forest plan revision/travel management discussion is the USFS simply does not have the money to maintain roads, that commentary has found its way back into the discussion
“The average allocated road maintenance budget from 2008 to 2010 is approximately 1.3 million dollars for the three national forests. The annual shortfall is approximately 200,000 dollars, which adds to an already substantial deferred maintenance backlog.” (Sec. 2.7 Roads and Trails Access pg. 61 para. 6 – Blue Mountains National Forests – Proposed Revised Land Management Plan).
This would seem like an insurmountable obstacle except for one thing, the money exists.
A recent Freedom of Information Act request for cash awards to all employees of the Wallowa Whitman, Malheur, and Umatilla Nation Forests reveals a shocking total, over the last six years the three forest have allocated and spent $1,216,128 dollars on cash awards for staff, ranging anywhere from individual awards of $50 to $5,500 (75 exceeded $2,000 dollars).
The sum of $1,216,128 works out to be an average of $202,688 per year, between 2008 and 2013, as noted above, that is the shortfall that we are told is the reason our mountains must be closed over.
I do not begrudge anyone for doing superior work and receiving a bonus for such work, but if the local residents cannot enter their mountains because of mismanagement of infrastructure should we really be rewarding those actions that are causing us to be locked out, or should we be managing the people business first??
John D. George