Na Ala Hele and the National Recreational Trails Program
This is the place where I will catalog all the information I have been able to collect on the National Trails Program and Na Ala Hele. This is a work in progress and much more information must be gathered, therefore I am not stating any opinion at this point. However, early indications are that the State of Hawaii (through DLNR/Na Ala Hele) could do a lot better job than they have at implementing the Recreational Trails Program. It is up to us as motorized off-highway recreational enthusiasts (motorcycle and ATV) to get educated and actively participate in creating a program that will serve the needs of our community in line with the intent of the Federal National Trails Program.
As a way of introduction, I quote from the Coalition for Recreational Trails:
- The Recreational Trails Program (RTP) was established by a provision of the Intermodal Surface Transportation Efficiency Act of 1991 (ISTEA) and reauthorized in 1998 as part of the Transportation Equity Act for the 21st Century (TEA-21) and in 2005 as the Safe, Accountable, Flexible, Efficient Transportation Equity Act: A Legacy for Users (SAFETEA-LU).
- The legislation applies the “user-pay/user-benefit” philosophy of the Highway Trust Fund to return monies to the states for maintenance and construction of trails, thus benefitting those who pay the federal motorfuel tax for nonhighway recreation uses. A Congressionally mandated study, conducted by Oak Ridge National Laboratory for the Federal Highway Administration, supported an estimate of $167 million annually in Highway Trust Fund receipts attributable to nonhighway recreational activities. A subsequent review has found that the estimate could be as high as $286 million annually.
- Eligible projects include: maintenance and restoration of existing recreational trails; development and rehabilitation of trailside and trailhead facilities and trail linkages for recreational trails; purchase and lease of recreational trail construction and maintenance equipment; construction of new recreational trails (with some specific requirements when federal land is involved); and acquisition of easements and fee simple title to property for recreational trails or trail corridors. State administrative and educational program costs are capped at 7% and 5% respectively. States are encouraged to give priority consideration to environmental-mitigation projects.
- Under ISTEA, a total of $37.5 million was made available for the program. Under TEA-21, $270 million in funding was available over six years. Up to 1½% can be used by the Department of Transportation to cover administrative costs. The remainder is apportioned to the states as follows: 50% divided equally among eligible states; 50% divided among eligible states in amounts proportionate to the degree of nonhighway recreational fuel use in each of those states during the preceding year.
- Thirty percent of funds are to be spent for uses relating to motorized recreation; 30% are to be spent for uses relating to nonmotorized recreation. In addition, 40% shall be used for projects that facilitate diverse recreational trail use within a recreational trail corridor, trailside or trailhead.
- The Recreational Trails Program has had a dramatic and positive impact on the quality of life in America. It has produced improvements through more than 7,650 projects nationwide and through catalyzing communication and cooperation among diverse trail enthusiasts, government officials at the federal, state and local levels, and national organization in the conservation, recreation, and transportation fields.
- The presence of trails in a community encourages increased physical activity. As a result, trails should be an essential element in the nation’s public-health campaign to reduce inactivity and obesity. Legislation reauthorizing America’s surface transportation program must continue to recognize the importance of trails to personal and community well-being.
- SAFETEA-LU, enacted in August 2005, provides a total of $370 million for the program through FY2009.
I have compiled a report of data that I was able to extract from the Recreational Trails Database. It is rather short on specific information but it makes interesting reading anyway. Here it is: RTP_Database_Hawaii.pdf
Federal Documents and Links:
Recreational Trails Program Apportionments and Obligations – FY 1993 to 2006. How much money have the states gotten over some of the years.
Recreational Trails Program Interim Guidance, revised August, 1999. The rules states must follow to implement the Recreational Trails Program.
Study: Fuel Used for Off-Road Recreation, Reassessment of the Fuel Use Model. Prepared for the Office of Highway Information Management, Federal Highway Administration, U.S. Department of Transportation by the Statistics and Data Analysis Program Center for Transportation Analysis, Oak Ridge National Laboratory. This study was used to determine the formula for distributing the State’s “Per Use” share of the funds for the National Recreational Trails Funding Program.
Recreational Trails Program, Report on State Trail Projects, October 2002, for the Federal Highway Administration.
Recreational Trails Program, Report on State Trail Projects, April 2005, for the Federal Highway Administration.
- The Federal Highway Administration’s website on the National Recreational Trails Program (RTP).
- The Recreational Trails Program database. This database of projects funded under the Recreational Trails Program of the Federal Highway Administration has been compiled from reports supplied by state trail administrators. Most recent database update: March, 2005.
State Documents and Links:
Text of the Hawaii Revised Statutes, HRS198D regarding the Establishment of Hawaii statewide trail and access program.
Title 13, Department of Land and Natural Resources, Subtitle 5, Forestry and Wildlife, Part 1 Forestry, Chapter 104, Rules Regulation Activities within Forest Reserves.
Title 13, Department of Land and Natural Resources, Subtitle 5, Forestry and Wildlife, Part 3, Na Ala Hele, Chapter 130, Rules for Hawaii Statewide Trail and Access Program (as amended November 15, 2003).
Na Ala Hele reports to the State Legislature:
Hawaii Trail Analysis, Survey and Risk Management Data Profile. Prepared for DLNR March 2001. Contains some usefull information on the various trails with which you may not be familiar.
Information on Hawaii’s Na Ala Hele Trail and Access System Commercial Trail Tour Activity Program.
Na Ala Hele Website You may notice there is nothing relating to motorized recreation.
Awards: Upper Waiakea ATV/Dirt Bike Park (HI)
Other Informational Documents:
Document put out by the AMA: OFF-HIGHWAY MOTORCYCLE AND ATV TRAILS: Guidelines For Design, Construction, Maintenance And User Satisfaction.
Document put out by the Federal Highway Administration. Conflicts on MultipleUse Trails: Synthesis of the Literature and State of the Practice.
Document put out by the National Off-Highway Vehicle Conservation Council : Management Guidelines, for Off-Highway Vehicle Recreation. A resource guide to assist in the planning, development, operation, and maintenance of environmentally sustainable and quality OHV trails, trail systems, and areas.
Other Informational Links:
National Off-Highway Vehicle Conservation Council (NOHVCC).
American Motorcyclist Association (AMA)