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BOISE (AP) — The director of the Idaho Department of Parks and Recreation said Friday that his agency is starting a voluntary trail pass program as part of a long-range goal to raise awareness and eventually money for non-motorized trail maintenance.

David Langhorst told the Legislature’s budget-setting committee that interest in the 900-mile Idaho Centennial Trail has been growing.

He said motorized trail groups have been effective in persuading lawmakers to tax or place fees on those user groups for trail maintenance.

But he said non-motorized trail users have been somewhat resistant to those kinds of user fees. He said the voluntary trail pass could help change minds.

Langhorst overall says the agency has seen a 60% increase in visitors to the agency’s facilities and needs more employees.

Langhorst is also seeking $100,000 to put in a new website that visitors to state parks would use to make and pay for reservations.

The agency is seeking a budget of about $45 million, with the bulk of that coming from fees for such things as camping or day use.

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