04.04.19

U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin and Representative Jim Sensenbrenner Introduce Bipartisan Scenic Trails Parity Act

This bipartisan, bicameral legislation will provide Wisconsin scenic trails with improved management and access to additional funding

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) and Representative Jim Sensenbrenner (R-WI) reintroduced the bipartisan National Scenic Trails Parity Act to provide improved management and access to additional funding for Wisconsin’s Ice Age and North Country National Scenic Trails.

“The Ice Age and North Country Scenic trails are beloved by Wisconsinites, and provide opportunities for people across our state to enjoy the great outdoors. But these trails currently face unfair barriers when competing for federal resources,” said Senator Baldwin. “I am proud to reintroduce this bipartisan legislation that will address this problem and allow federal funds to go to Wisconsin for maintenance and improvement of these trails, which drive tourism and provide outdoor recreation opportunities to Wisconsinites and visitors alike.”

“The Ice Age Trail is a beautiful part of Wisconsin’s natural wonders and also a significant contributor to our state’s economy. According to a study by the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater, the trail has an annual economic impact of $113 million, drawing roughly 1.2 million visitors,” said Representative Sensenbrenner. “I’m proud to sponsor this bipartisan, bicameral legislation to help preserve and maintain the Ice Age, North Country, and New England National Scenic trails.”

“Hosting millions of Americans, National Scenic Trails provide remarkable recreational experiences in close proximity to their homes. The Ice Age, North Country and New England National Scenic Trails are under-represented within the National Park System. We are so appreciative that Senator Baldwin and Representative Sensenbrenner recognize these Trails as critically important at the local, state and national levels,” said Mike Wollmer, Executive Director & CEO of the Ice Age Trail Alliance. “Senator Baldwin and Representative Sensenbrenner reintroducing the National Scenic Trails Parity Act brings these three Trails well-deserved and well-earned recognition. We thank them for their constant and continued leadership!”

“The National Scenic Trails Parity Act is simple and common sense legislation that corrects an inequity in the management of National Scenic Trails by the National Park Service,” said Andrea Ketchmark, Executive Director, North Country Trail Association. “The North Country Trail Association, representing thousands of partners and volunteers along one of these forgotten trails, is so grateful for Senator Baldwin's leadership. Her support will help ensure the agency does its part to see that these national treasures get managed properly and in line with the National Trails System Act.”

“The Partnership for the National Trails System greatly appreciates the strong support Senator Baldwin has consistently provided for the National Trails System and for robust funding of the Land & Water Conservation Fund to acquire land needed to complete the National Trails,” said Gary Werner, Executive Director, Partnership for the National Trails System. “We are especially grateful to her for her leadership in re-introducing the National Scenic Trails Parity Act to assure that the Ice Age, North Country, and New England National Scenic Trails are administered by the National Park Service as full units of the National Park System as are the other three national scenic trails the agency administers. Without the parity provided by the new legislation the three affected trails authorized by Congress will continue to not receive the full range of support and recognition provided by the Park Service for the units of the National Park System.”

The bipartisan legislation is cosponsored in the Senate by Senators Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Ron Johnson (R-WI), Ed Markey (D-MA), Chris Murphy (D-CT), and Debbie Stabenow (D-MI). The legislation is also cosponsored in the House by Representative Mark Pocan (D-WI).

The Ice Age Trail is used by 1.25 million people every year and in 2018, more than 2,600 volunteers contributed nearly 82,000 hours of work. The North Country Trail logged over 66,000 hours of volunteer work in 2018, valued at $1.6 million. The National Scenic Trails in Wisconsin drive economic growth through tourism and the use of local businesses in construction and maintenance activities.