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Introduced Version House Bill 2954 History

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hb2954 intr
H. B. 2954


(By Delegates Craig, Leach, Morgan,

Sobonya, Stephens and Howard)

[Introduced March 9, 2005 ; referred to the

Committee on Government Organization then Finance.]




A BILL to amend the Code of West Virginia, 1931, as amended, by adding thereto a new article, designated §17-27-1, §17-27-2, §17-27-3 and §17-27-4, all relating to establishing a State Trails Coordinator.

Be it enacted by the Legislature of West Virginia:

That the Code of West Virginia, 1931, as amended, be amended by adding thereto a new article, designated §17-27-1, §17-27-2, §17-27-3 and §17-27-4, all to read as follows:

ARTICLE 27. STATE TRAIL COORDINATOR.

§17-27-1. Legislative findings.

(a) In order to provide for the outdoor needs of the state's population and tourists for public access to, travel within, and enjoyment and appreciation of the out-of-doors areas of the state, it is hereby declared to be the public policy of this state and among the purposes of this article to: Increase the accessibility
and encourage the use of these natural resources by the residents of this state and by nonresidents; provide opportunity for the development of public and private facilities for persons visiting and utilizing the natural resources of this state; encourage an increase in riding, hiking, bicycling, and other compatible recreational activities as influences for the improvement of the health and welfare of the people; and to provide for the needs of specialized recreational motor vehicles. It is recognized that recreational trails improve the overall health, wellness, fitness and overall welfare of the citizens of the state and that the existence of recreational trails results in the increase of value of nearby real property while enhancing community and economic development.
(b) To implement the provisions of subsection (a) of this section and as additional purposes of this article, the state may: Establish and maintain trails on a statewide basis to connect, when feasible and practical, the units of the parks and outdoor recreation system, federal recreational lands, and other trails systems; perpetuate and provide the use of and access to regions and trails of special or historic interest within the state; assist local governments in serving the requirements of the urban and other population centers of the state; encourage the multiple use of public rights-of-way and utilize to the fullest extent the existing and future scenic roads, highways, parkways, and federally
administered trails where feasible as recreational trails; encourage the development and maintenance of recreational trails by counties and municipalities and assist in such development and maintenance by all means available; coordinate trail plans and development among legal jurisdictions and with the state and federal governments; encourage, when possible, the development of trails on federal lands by the federal government; and promote at all levels of government a more complete use of all or any portion of public property for recreational purposes.
§17-27-2. State Trail Coordinator; appointment; duties.

(a) There is hereby created within the Division of Highways the position of State Trail Coordinator. No later than the first day of January, two thousand six, the Governor, by and with the consent of the Senate, shall appoint a Statewide Trail Coordinator to serve at the will and pleasure of the Governor.

(b) As used in this article, "trails" includes, but is not limited to, trails used for hiking, walking, recreation, cross- country skiing, biking, mountain biking, equestrian activities, trails used by motorized and nonmotorized recreation vehicles, water craft, trails intended to improve fitness, wellness and quality of life, trails used as alternate transportation corridors, water-oriented trails which provide a designated path to or along lakes, streams, or reservoirs in which water and other water- oriented recreational opportunities are the primary points of
interest and historical trails which identify and interpret routes which were significant in the historical settlement and development of the state.
(c) Notwithstanding the provisions of subsection (d) of this section, the State Trails Coordinator has no authority or control over any existing or future state agency or any authority which is created for the purpose of enabling and facilitating the development and operation of a system of trail-oriented recreation facilities, but instead shall cooperate with these entities and serve as a resource to such entities.

(d) The Statewide Trail Coordinator has those powers and duties recommended by the State Trails Advisory Committee and approved by the Commissioner of the Division of Highways and also the following powers and duties:

(1) Make recommendations to the Governor and the Commissioner of the Division of Highways concerning development and maintenance of trails;

(2) Coordinate with all trails interests the development and maintenance of a state trails program, including the development and promotion of a comprehensive state trails plan;

(3) Coordinate with all trails interests in the state, including connecting existing trails and providing for connection of future trails;

(4) Promote trails, including incorporating alternate
transportation paths into road planning;
(5) Coordinate maintenance of trails, including promoting cooperative maintenance with local entities;

(6) Develop and maintain a standardized information accessibility and signage system for all trails;

(7) Develop and maintain a trail user policy to minimize trail use conflicts;

(8) Collaborate with private landowners to encourage landowner support of trails;

(9) Develop and maintain a funding program for trails;

(10) Perform any other duties as to further develop and maintain trails in the state;

(11) Collaborate with the State Trails Advisory Committee and review recommendations made by the Committee;

(12) Cooperate with state agencies and authorities regarding the development, promotion and maintenance of trails within West Virginia.

§17-27-3.
State Trail Advisory Committee; appointment; duties.

(a) The Governor shall appoint a citizens' advisory council to assist the State Trails Coordinator with the implementation of his or her mission and policy objectives.

(b) (1) On the first day of July, two thousand five, the membership on the authority shall consist of fifteen voting members:

(A) The chief executive officer of the West Virginia development office, or his or her designee;

(B) The chief executive officer of the West Virginia Division of Natural Resources, or his or her designee;

(C) The Director of the West Virginia Division of Rehabilitative Services, or his or her designee;

(D) The Director of the West Virginia Bureau for Public Health, or his or her designee;

(E) The Commissioner of the West Virginia Division of Highways, or his or her designee;

(F) The Commissioner of the West Virginia Division of Tourism or his or her designee;

(G) Four members appointed by the Governor representing the interests of nonmotorized trail users, and qualified for service by reason of the members' actual involvement in this type of activity or industry. The four members shall be appointed so as to equally represent the broadest range of nonmotorized uses of the trails in the state including hiking, cross-country skiing, bicycling and horseback riding;

(H) Four members appointed by the Governor representing the interests of motorized trail users, and qualified for service by reason of the members' actual involvement in this type of activity or industry. The four members shall be appointed so as to equally represent the broadest range of motorized uses of the trails in the
state including all-terrain vehicle riding, four-wheel driving, snowmobiling and off highway motorcycling;
(I) One member appointed for a term of four years representing the interest of the general public and who, to be qualified for service, may not derive in any manner personal financial gain from the development, operation, maintenance or preservation of recreational trails in the state.

(2) The Statewide Trail Coordinator shall be an ex officio nonvoting member.

(c) All members who serve on the Trails Advisory Committee shall be citizens and actual residents of the state.

(d) Members of the State Trails Advisory Committee may not be entitled to compensation for services performed as members. Members not employed by the state may be reimbursed for actual and necessary expenses incurred in the discharge of their official duties in a manner consistent with guidelines of the travel management office of the Department of Administration. A majority of these members shall constitute a quorum for the purpose of conducting business. Members may participate in meetings via teleconference.

(e) Any member may be eligible for reappointment. A member shall continue to serve until his or her successor has been appointed and qualified.

(f) The Governor may remove any member from the authority for
neglect of duty, incompetency or official misconduct.
(g) The State Trails Advisory Committee shall meet at least twice each year and any other times as are necessary and shall annually elect one of its members as president and one of its members as secretary.

(h) The purpose of the State Trails Advisory Committee is to:

(1) Make recommendations to the Governor regarding persons who might be considered for the position of State Trails Coordinator;

(2) Provide a forum for discussion of issues that affect the development and maintenance of trails within the state;

(3) Identify and promote best practices in the development and maintenance of trails;

(4) Review information and research that can inform state policy;

(5) Make recommendations to the State Trails Coordinator in areas of policy and allocation of resources;

(6) Focus attention on accountability and results;

(7) Assist the State Trails Coordinator in developing a cross-agency multiyear state plan for improving the development and maintenance of trails;

(8) Engage local communities through local trail networks to work on local issues and statewide priorities;

(9) Assure that community voices are heard by the State Trail Coordinator; and

(10) Provide recommendations to the State Trails Coordinator for funding for development and maintenance of trails.

§17-27-4.
Reports by State Trails Coordinator.

The State Trails Coordinator shall report to the Governor as to the progress being made in trails development and maintenance activity within the state and shall report, at least annually, but more often if requested, the financing considered necessary to continue funding, if desired, of trail development and maintenance activities.



NOTE: The purpose of this bill is
to establish the position of State Trails Coordinator within the West Virginia Division of Highways.

This article is new; therefore, strike-throughs and underscoring have been omitted.



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