Forest Service Launches Dashboard for Nice American Open air Act Initiatives

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Editor’s Note: The Great American Outdoors Act assists the USDA Forest Service in achieving benefits for the American public through large investments in recreational infrastructure, access to public lands, and land and water conservation.

The USDA Forest Service gives the public a look at the progress of the Great American Outdoors Act with a newly released dashboard.

Snapshot of the Great American Outdoors Act Legacy Restoration Fund dashboard.

These projects impact national forests in the United States. More roads and trails are being repaired, recreation areas renovated, and structures upgraded to increase public access. The Forest Service has more than 550 projects underway to reduce the agency’s delayed maintenance backlog and improve public access to outdoor recreation.

The new dashboard builds on ongoing efforts to keep the public informed of the Agency’s work. Last year the forest service released a story map showing the difference some of the projects are making to local communities by improving access and outdoor recreation. The dashboard launched today provides the ability to closely track the performance and execution of each project.

“The Forest Service’s approach to implementing the Great American Outdoors Act was based on asking the public and partners what matters most,” said Chris French, assistant forest service director for the National Forest System. “This new dashboard reinforces the Forest Service’s commitment to transparency and accountability by showing the public our progress in modernizing our facilities and improving public access to their national forests.”

Users can also see progress on specific projects from coast to coast. The dashboard allows the public to see how the agency is handling delayed maintenance. For example, in 2021, the Forest Service repaired the snowmobile parking lot in the Klamath National Forest. When complete, this project will provide local communities and visitors with easier access to winter recreation opportunities and invite new users to try winter sports.

Contractors, partners and volunteers took part in the Pandapas Pond facelift. Crews helped improve hiking trails, reduce erosion, and generally improve the recreational grounds. USDA Forest Service photo by Ginelle Heller

On the other side of the country, users can check in at the Pandapas Pond Project in the George Washington and Jefferson National Forest. This project improves a hiking trail and fishing platform in a popular location outside of Blacksburg, Virginia.

Snapshot of the Great American Outdoors Act Legacy Restoration Fund dashboard.

These are just two examples of the 556 projects funded under the Great American Outdoors Act in fiscal year 2021. In addition to tracking the overall implementation of the fund, the public now has the ability to look at each individual project and review details such as project descriptions, impact on delayed maintenance, and implementation status. Additional information provided includes the number of roads, trails, bridges and similar infrastructure assets addressed by GAOA projects, as well as projects completed by partner groups including Conservation Corps and tribal organizations.

All of the data included in the dashboard is continuously updated by national forest and grassland staff, providing the most up-to-date record of implementation of the GAOA project. Future fiscal year projects will be made available on the dashboard once approved by Congress.

For more information on the Forest Service’s implementation of the Great American Outdoors Act, visit https://www.fs.usda.gov/managing-land/gaoa.