California national forests reaping stimulus funding
National forests in California collected $76.7 million in economic recovery funding this week to pay for an array of building and trail maintenance projects.
The $76 million is more than any other state received in this round. It will finance trail repairs and improvements to everything from picnic areas to sewage facilities and administration buildings.
A solar energy system will be installed at the San Dimas Technology and Development Center near Los Angeles.
Earlier awards to California forests included $31.3 million for hazardous fuel projects to reduce the wildfire threat and $25 million for road maintenance and decommission.
The Forest Service, which manages more than 190 million acres nationally -- nearly 21 million of them in California -- has a huge maintenance and repair backlog for both roads and buildings.
The agency is so desperate for maintenance funds that a few years ago forests started selling unneeded buildings and sites to raise cash.
-- Bettina Boxall
Photo: Joshua Patton thins brush in the Rogue River-Siskiyou National Forest in Oregon as part of a project funded by economic stimulus funds. Credit: Jeff Barnard / Associated Press