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New state trails program chief comes from Lander

New state trails program chief comes from Lander

Sep 9, 2012 - By Joshua Scheer, Staff Writer

Lander resident Ron McKinney has been named the state trails program manager for the Division of State Parks, Historic Sites and Trails.

In the new position, McKinney said he will oversee the trails program throughout the state.

The announcement in a news release on Sept. 5 came after he had served as interim program manager for about four months.

"I've been a regional trails supervisor for quite a while," McKinney said, noting this winter will be his eighth with the department.

The trails program handles the maintenance of existing and the creation of new snowmobile and off-road vehicle trails.

As a regional supervisor McKinney was in charge of motorized trails in the western half of the state. As the lead in the program, he will oversee non-motorized trails.

These are created, he said, through the Recreational Trails Program grant.

"I'll be working closely with the federal partners," he said.

McKinney explained most of what the program does is work on projects as requested by federal offices like the Bureau of Land Management and U.S. Forest Service.

"I'm very excited," McKinney said, adding his goal is to continue the relationships with the federal partners and to make his program the best in the nation.

In the news release, State Parks, Historic Sites and Trails Administrator Domenic Bravo praised McKinney's work.

"Ron brings a great deal of passion, dedication and experience to this very important position within the Division," Bravo said. "We look forward to continuing to serve all trail users and to leading the nation with one of the best Trails programs in the country."

McKinney has already begun his new position, and he will remain based out of his Lander office.

He said his former position will be filled in the near future.

Locally, McKinney said the office doesn't have any major projects planned. He said the state legislative Travel, Recreation, Wildlife and Cultural Resources joint interim committee will meet in Jackson next month to consider drafting legislation that would raise user fees.

The current fee for snowmobiles and all-terrain vehicles is $25 per season. McKinney's program is almost entirely user funded.

McKinney encouraged locals to join the discussion. According to the committee's online schedule, a date for the meeting has not been set.

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