3:24pm

Fri February 17, 2012
The Commonwealth

Schools, Counties Losing Federal Forest Money

Projects to improve roads and forest trails in rural Kentucky counties are facing their last round of funding from the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The agency announced Friday that more than $307 million will be distributed nationwide, marking the final payment under the Secure Rural Schools and Community Self-Determination Act. For more than a century, counties that are home to national forest land received money to offset the loss of property tax. 

Kentucky, which is home to Land Between the Lakes National Recreation Area and the Daniel Boone National Forest, will get a final check for $1.8 million.

"For these counties when it comes to road improvement needs and just improvements that will enhance some of their tourist attractions in their local community, it's definitely an important sum of money for them," says Kimberly Morgan, public affairs specialist for Daniel Boone National Forest.

The SRS Act has an even bigger impact for states in the Northwest United States: Oregon will receive more than $64 million this year from the program. That funding will come to an end unless Congress reauthorizes the legislation.