California national forests reaping stimulus funding


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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 money is part of the latest round of stimulus funding announced by the U.S. Forest Service, which will get a total of $1.15 billion under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.


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