Forest Service Distributes $3.1M in Funding for Schools, Roads, and Other Services

June 6, 2024

WARREN, Pa. — The Forest Service announced that $3.1 million will be distributed as its 2023 annual payments to Forest, Warren, McKean, and Elk Counties through the the Secure Rural Schools program.

The 1908 Act and Secure Rural Schools program requires the Forest service to distribute funds nationally to counties containing federal land. In Pennsylvania, the Allegheny National Forest manages land in four counties, Elk, Forest, McKean, and Warren, all of which will receive funding.

The four counties within the Allegheny National Forest will receive a total of $3,135,476.46 from the gross receipts generated on Forest Service lands during the 2023 fiscal year. The totals of 2023 funds (excluding the 5.7% sequestration – a budgeting reduction mandated by Congress) distributed to the four counties of the Allegheny National Forest are:

  • Elk – $ 462,178.11 (1908 Act)
  • Forest – $ 1,508,674.24 (Secure Rural Schools Program)
  • McKean – $ 557,867.29 (1908 Act)
  • Warren – $606,756.82 (1908 Act)

Act 1908 and SRS payments are in addition to payment in lieu of taxes (PILT) that the counties also receive for having federal land in their borders. Elk, Forest, McKean, and Warren counties received a combined $935,105 in PILT for fiscal year 2023.

The Forest Service was established in 1905 with 56 million acres of land. Today, the Forest Service manages approximately 196 million acres. In reflection of this, Congress ratified the Act of 1908, as a measure to support rural counties whose tax base was limited by the growing amount of Federal land. To help stabilize this funding available to rural counties, the Secure Rural Schools and Community Self-Determination Act was passed in 2000.

A portion of Forest Service funds generated through multi-use activities, such as grazing, timber production, and special use permits, is distributed to eligible counties to help maintain local roads and schools.

Nationally, $238 million will be paid to 745 eligible counties in 41 states and Puerto Rico to support public schools, roads, and other municipal services. For payment information by county, visit Secure Rural Schools – Payments.

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