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(Washington, D.C.) – The U.S. Forest Service received more than $4 million in disaster relief funding to repair trails and roads at White Mountain National Forest in New Hampshire, U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) announced today. The roads were damaged last August by the heavy rains and flash floods that resulted from Hurricane Irene.

“Hurricane Irene had a devastating impact on many areas in the state and these funds will ensure that repair work can be completed,” Shaheen said. “These roads and trails need to be repaired so residents and tourists can safely access the great resources offered by the White Mountain National Forest,” Shaheen said.

“We welcome the news that funds have been made available to assist with the storm recovery efforts in the White Mountain National Forest,” said Tom Wagner, White Mountain National Forest Supervisor. “These funds will enable us to continue the work on damaged roads, bridges and trails from the August 2011 storm. We ask for the public’s understanding and patience as we restore public access over the next two to three years.”  

Following Hurricane Irene, Shaheen joined Senate colleagues to support including $1.9 billion in disaster relief funding in the Federal Highway Administration’s 2012 budget.

Shaheen also encouraged federal officials to act quickly on the state’s application for federal disaster relief. She sent a letter to officials at the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) in support of Governor John Lynch’s request to the agency for a Preliminary Damage Assessment. Such an assessment is the first step in making New Hampshire projects eligible for financial assistance in cleanup and rebuilding after the storm. This emergency declaration was crucial to getting the funding that was announced today.

The $4,046,814 comes through the Emergency Relief for Federally Owned Roads (ERFO) Program, which helps agencies deal with the high cost of repairing federally-owned roads damaged by natural disasters.

The money will be used to repair trails and roads including The Lincoln Woods Trail, Rocky Gorge Trail, and Sabbaday Falls Trails as well the Kancamagus Highway, Mad River Road, Rocky Branch Road, and Pinkham B Road.