GENERAL AGREEMENT Between the NATIONAL PARK SERVICE MAMMOTH CAVE NATIONAL PARK And the MAMMOTH CAVE BACKCOUNTRY HORSEMEN
This General Agreement (hereafter, Agreement) is entered into between the National Park Service, Mammoth Cave National Park (hereafter, Park), a bureau ofthe United States Department ofthe Interior (Department), and Mammoth Cave Backcountry Horsemen (hereafter, MCBCH) to foster collaboration between MCBCH and the Park concerning the maintenance of the backcountry trail system on the north side of the Park.
Article I. Background and 0biectives
Mammoth Cave National Park was established in 1941 to preserve the cave system, including Mammoth Cave, the scenic river valleys of the Green and Nolín rivers, and the hilly backcountry north of the Green River. This is the longest recorded cave system in the world with more than 400 miles explored and mapped. The Park has been designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is also an International Biosphere Reserve.
In order for visitors to enjoy backcountry areas of the park, an 85-mile trail system of trails has been constructed over the years to allow access by a variety of means. Approximately 50 miles of these trails are north of Green River and 35 miles are south of Green River. A number of trails have been established on old road beds. Currently, trail visitors include hikers, horseback riders, and bicyclists.
The Mammoth Cave Backcountry Horsemen became a Kentucky Backcountry Horsemen Chapter in 2013 and is an active group of horseback riders in the region surrounding the Park. Their activities include organized equestrian rides, trail building, maintenance, advocacy, and education. In past years, several of the present MCBCH members and the Park have worked together successfully in maintaining Several park trails during special Backcountry Work Day events. Over the years, these same volunteers have contributed hundreds of hours of volunteer time performing maintenance work on park trails, but now are organized within one organization, being the MCBCH. The MCBCH is dedicated to protecting and preserving park resources via sustainable trail design and other trail stewardship practices.
In response to a variety of needs and issues, the park determined in 2006 that there was a strong need to more comprehensively plan for the management of park trails. ln order to better manage the trail system, provide for scientific measurement of impacts caused by trail users, and minimize trail user Conflicts, the Park developed a Comprehensive Trail Management Plan
(CTMP) that was approved in December, 2008. In addition to approving a preferred alternative for trail designations and key development actions, the CTMP also identified a need for user education and the implementation of sustainable trail design and maintenance practices. Therefore, the CTMP stated that these efforts “will be enhanced with continuing support from park user groups, volunteer groups. . .”
Funding for the maintenance of all park trails in Mammoth Cave National Park, especially the trails on the north side of the Park, continues to be a management challenge and concern. The park does not have operational funding for ongoing maintenance of trails. At the same time, it has been documented that the physical condition of many park trails has deteriorated in recent years. Since 2009, annual trail condition assessments have been performed on park trails, and the data indicates that total soil loss has increased by over 10%, the number of secondary trails has doubled, and there continues to be periods of time when there is excessive muddiness during Wetter months.
Consequently, MCBCH’s assistance in maintaining the north side trails will be essential in order for trails to remain open and available for public use and enjoyment and to ensure that trail conditions are improved. In light of park funding limitations, combined with the recent years of trail monitoring data that indicate deterioration in trail conditions, there is a heightened need for continuing support from user groups such as the MCBCH to work cooperatively with the park.
Article II. Statutory Authority
The NPS enters into this Agreement pursuant to the following legal authorities:
16 U.S.C. § 1-3 General Authority to Take Actions That Promote and Regulate Units of the National Park System – The NPS Organic Act directs the Secretary of the Interior to promote and regulate National Park System lands by such means and measures as to conform to the fundamental purpose of such lands, namely conservation of the scenery and natural and historic objects and Wildlife therein, and to provide for the enjoyment of these resources in a manner and by such means as will leave them unimpaired for the enjoyment of future generations.
16 U.S.C. § 1f – Cost Share Arrangements with Partners The NPS Organic Act authorizes the Secretary of the Interior to enter into an agreement with a cooperator for the purpose of sharing costs or services in carrying out authorized functions and responsibilities with respect to the National Park System, any affiliated area, or any designated National Scenic or Historic Trail. Cooperators are any State or local
government, public or private agency, organization, institution, Corporation, individual or other entity.
16 U.S.C. § 18g-j – Acceptance of Volunteer Services – The Secretary of the Interior is authorized to recruit, train and accept the services of individuals without compensation as volunteers for or in the aid of interpretive functions, or other visitor services or activities in and related to areas of the National Park System. Such volunteers may not be used for hazardous duty or law enforcement work or in policy-making processes or to displace any employee. A special exception allows the acceptance of the services of individuals that the Secretary determines “are skilled in performing hazardous activities”.
Article lll. Responsibilities Understandings of the Parties
A. The Park and MCBCH jointly agree to:
1. Participate in a biannual meeting to develop and review an Annual Work Plan, based upon trail maintenance priorities identified and established by the Park. Discuss potential organized trail Work events as well as any other work planning efforts. This biannual meeting does not preclude having more frequent meetings if needed. The intermediate meetings may be called by either party as the need arises.
If any projects are identified and agreed upon by the Park and MCBCH, and the project(s) involve ground disturbance, the Park will complete required compliance actions as soon as possible prior to project commencement. The Park is required to comply with the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) and Section l06 of the National Historic Preservation Act for project work, in order to assess potential impacts to the natural and human environment as well as cultural and archeological resources. The cost of such compliance work may be shared by MCBCH.
2. Jointly agree on and approve any public information releases such as any type of media release, educational materials, or advisories concerning activities by MCBCH at Mammoth Cave National Park.
B. The Park agrees to:
1. Designate a Trail Contact(s) who will be responsible for coordinating with MCBCH.
2. Clearly identify trail maintenance standards. (See Appendix A)
3. Issue equipment to include, but not limited to, hand tools, Chain saws, supplies, and materials. The Park will issue Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), for use by chain saw operators t0 include, but not be limited to, chaps, helmets, ear protection, gloves, and eye protection. All equipment and PPE will be issued to MCBCH, which will in turn issue the above to designated members. Such loans may be on a long-term issuance. During larger, organized events, the Park may supplement the MCBCH issuance by issuing additional equipment. However, this supplemental issuance must be serviced and returned at the end ofthe Speciñc event.
4. Conduct trail work events and activities beyond simple trail clearing, in which objectives will be established; supplies and materials procured; and tools and PPE issued. The events will be supervised and led by the Park Trail Contact(s), or his/her designee. The events may involve a single group such as MCBCH, multiple groups, use individual volunteers, or a combination of all.
5. Notify MCBCH of planned activities that may directly affect the trails that are managed for equestrian uses and backcountry campsites that accommodate equestrian trail users.
6. Work with MCBCH to pursue grants that would further the Work of the MCBCH and the Park trail program.
7. Inform MCBCH of any required certifications, safety or educational programs necessary to members.
C. The MCBCH agrees to:
1. Ensure that volunteer participants are informed that their activities in the Park are covered under the Volunteers in the Parks Act of 1969 and that a Volunteer Services Agreement for Natural Resource Agencies (OF 301A)(Appendix B) is completed and submitted for each individual. Volunteers under the age of 18 must submit an Form OF 301A with the parental/guardian section completed and signed prior t0 participation in a volunteer activity. Once executed, Volunteer Service Agreements are valid until terminated by either or both parties.
Once a participating member is signed as a volunteer upon completion of the Volunteer Service Agreement, they Will he authorized to perform trail work either by themselves or with other MCBCH volunteers, Whenever they wish. This does not have to be during an organized work event. If one or more MCBCH volunteers complete Work independently outside an organized event, they must inform the MCBCH Key Official of the details of Work accomplished along with the number of persons and the hours Worked. The Key Official will report this to the Park Trail Contact(s), with the hours recorded on an Individual Volunteer Hours Log (Appendix C).
During organized work events, a VIP Group Signup Sheet (Appendix D) with the names, work location, description of work, beginning work time, ending work time, and number of hours per person will be attached to a Volunteer Service Agreement, which will be signed bythe MCBCH leader and provided to the Park leader at the event or submitted to the Park Trails Contact@ as soon as practical. Failure to comply with volunteer agreement requirements during a work activity will result in a cessation of work on the part of the non-compliant individuals.
2. Coordinate with the Park Trail Contact(s) to determine where Work efforts need to be focused. All MCBCH volunteer work, whether by a group or individual volunteer, will need to be coordinated through the President, MCBCH who will notify the Park Trail Contact(s) that such work will be taking place, or has taken place.
3. Generally use Park-owned fools and equipment. The MCBCH may use their own equipment, including chainsaws. The MCBCH must ensure that their personal equipment is in satisfactory working condition. The Park will not be responsible for damage to, or maintenance of, personal equipment.
All tools, equipment, and facilities furnished by the park will be on a loan basis. All Park-issued chainsaws will be returned in a use-ready condition, cleaned, and undamaged. Any damage or malfunctions of chainsaws that cannot be resolved in the field will be reported, in Writing, as soon as possible. The operator will notify the MCBCH President of the condition needing repair, and in turn, the President will notify the Park Trail Contact(s). Chainsaws which become damaged or inoperative due to normal wear and tear, will be repaired or replaced by the Park. In the event that a chainsaw or other equipment is damaged or rendered inoperative due to negligent use, MCBCH will be responsible for repair or replacement of the item. The MCBCH will provide fuel, oil, and routine maintenance through the use season. The Park will provide overall servicing annually.
All park safety requirements, job hazard analysis, and training requirements must be achieved, and personal protective equipment must be used. Park-owned chainsaws, tools, and other equipment are to be used on Park trails only.
Ensure that all chainsaw operators have received chainsaw training through the park and conduct operations according to the Park Chainsaw Plan.
5. Comply with NPS regulations when conducting activities within the Park and using NPS property and facilities.
6. Ensure that safety will be the priority in all work activities. Work assignments will be handled in a manner so that assignments and tasks do not exceed the skill level of the volunteers present. Park Standard Operating Procedures and Job Hazard Analyses will be followed. Report all injuries/illnesses to the MCBCH Key Official or designated group leader, and the Park Trail Contactts) or Volunteer Coordinator without delay. Documentation will occur the same as if the person was a paid employee.
7. Provide Leave No Trace training to its members.
8. Coordinate with the Park to obtain any necessary training and/or certifications.
9. Encourage safe, courteous, and responsible trail use to its members.
10. Report problems with the trail and accomplishments in a timely manner to the Park.
Article lV. Term of Agreement
Unless earlier terminated by operation ofthe temis of this Agreement, or by agreement of the
parties in writing, this Agreement will be in effect for a period of five (5) years beginning on the date the last signature is to this Agreement.
Article V. Termination
Either Party may terminate this Agreement for any reason by providing thirty (30) days Written notice setting forth the reasons for proposing termination. Neither party will be liable to the other for any costs or claims in the event of termination.
Article VI. Key Officials and Notices
A. Key Officials
The personnel specified below are considered essential to the successful coordination and communication between the MCBCH and the Park for the work to be performed pursuant to this Agreement. Upon written notice to all the other parties, that party may designate an alternate to act in the place ofthe designated Key Official, or designated a new Key Official. The Key Officials for the Park will also serve as the Park Trail Contacts.
For Mammoth Cave National Park:
Chief, Facilities Management Park Trail Contact
Division of Facilities Management Mammoth Cave National Park P.O. Box 7
Mammoth Cave, KY 42259
(270) 758-2372 (fax)
Chief Park Ranger
Division of Law Enforcement and Emergency Services
Mammoth Cave National Park
P.O. Box 7
Mammoth Cave, KY 42259
(270) 758-2342 (fax)
For the Mammoth Cave Backcountry Horsemen:
Mammoth Cave Backcountry Horsemen
1975 Salem Church Road
Hodgenville, KY 42748
Mammoth Cave Backcountry Horsemen
692 Shady Bower Lane
Sonora, KY 42776
Any notice from one party to all the other parties related to this Agreement, including a change in Key Officials, shall be in writing and delivered by mail, personal delivery, electronic delivery or other appropriate means, to the first Key Official of the other party at the address or Contact number indicated above, or at such other address or Contact number for such Key Official as may be provided by the other party from time to time, and shall be Considered delivered upon receipt at the office of such Key Official.
Article VII. Required Clauses
1. Non Discrimination: All activities pursuant or in association with this Agreement shall be conducted in compliance with the requirements of Executive Order 11246; Title Vl of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, as amended (78 Stat. 252; 42 U.S.C. § 2000d et seg); Title V, Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of1973 (87 Stat. 394; 29 U.S.C. § 794); the Age Discrimination Act 0f1975 (89 Stat. 728; 42 U.S.C. 610| et seg); and with all other federal laws and regulations prohibiting discrimination on grounds of race, color, sexual orientation, national origin,
2. NPS Appropriations: Pursuant to 3l U.S.C. § l34l, nothing contained in this Agreement shall be construed to obligate the Department of the Interior or the United States to any current or future expenditure of funds in advance of the availability of appropriations from Congress. Nor does this Agreement obligate the Department of the Interior or the United States to spend funds on any particular project or purpose, even if funds are available.
3. Prior Approval: The MCBCH shall obtain prior written approval from the NPS before:
a. Holding special events within the Park;
b. Entering into third-party agreements of a material nature,
c. Assigning or transferring this Agreement or any part thereof;
d. Constructing any structure or making any improvements within the Park’s boundaries;
e. Releasing any public information that refers to the Department, the NPS, the Park, any NPS employee (by name or title), this Agreement or the projects contemplated hereunder;
4. Compliance with Applicable Laws: This Agreement and performance hereunder is subject to all law, regulations, and management policies including those governing the NPS property and resources, Whether now in force or hereafter enacted or promulgated. Nothing in this Agreement shall be construed as in any Way impairing the general powers of the NPS for supervision, regulation, and control of its property under such applicable laws, regulations, and management policies. Nothing in this Agreement shall be deemed inconsistent with or contrary to the purpose of or intent of any Act of Congress.
5. Disclaimers of Government Endorsement: The MCBCH will not publicize or circulate materials (such as advertisements, solicitations, brochures, press releases, speeches, pictures, movies, articles, manuscripts, or other publications), suggesting expressly 0r implicitly, that the Government, the Department, NPS, or Government employees endorses MCBCH‘s business, goods, or services. All materials referring to the Government must be approved by the NPS Key Official prior to publication. Nothing herein is intended to prevent the NPS or the Department of the Interior from recognizing the partnership or contributions made by the MCBCH to NPS, and from authorizing an inclusion of such recognition in materials generated by the MCBCH related to this Agreement.
6. Modifications: This Agreement may be extended, renewed or amended only when agreed to in writing by the NPS and MCBCH.
7. Waiver: Failure to enforce any clause of this Agreement by either party shall not constitute waiver of that clause. Waivers must be express and evidenced in writing.
8.Agency: MCBCH are not agents or representatives of the United States, the Department of the Interior, 0r the NPS, nor will MCBCI-I represent themselves as such to third parties. The
NPS is not an agent or representative of MCBCH, nor will the NPS represent itself as Such to third parties.
9. Non-Exclusive Agreement: This Agreement in no way restricts either the NPS or the MCBCH from entering into similar agreements, or participating in similar activities or arrangements, with other public or private agencies, organizations, or individuals.
10. Partial invalidity: If any provision of this Agreement or the application thereof to any party or circumstance shall, to any extent, be held invalid or unenforceable, the remainder of this Agreement or the application of such provision to the parties or circumstances other than those to which it is held invalid or unenforceable, shall not be affected thereby and
each provision of this Agreement shall be valid and be enforced to the fullest extent permitted by law.
11. Liabilities: The Parties accept sole responsibility for any property damage, injury or death caused by the acts and omissions of their respective employees, representatives or agents, acting within the scope of their employment, to the fullest extent permitted by law. However, volunteers who are enrolled with the Park pursuant to Article III(A)(1) of this Agreement are covered under the Federal Employees Compensation Act which authorizes compensation for work-related injuries and by the Federal Tort Claims Act which protects volunteers from liability for injury or damage to others While they are acting within the scope of their assigned duties.
Article VIII. Signatures
IN WITNESS WHEREOF, the parties hereto have executed this Agreement on the dates set forth below.
FOR THE KENTUCKY BACKCOUNTRY HORSEMEN: Ginny Grulke, Chair
FOR THE MAMMOTH CAVE BACKCOUNTRY HORSEMEN: Brenda Cecil, President
FOR MAMMOTH CAVE NATIONAL PARK:
Sarah Craighead, Superintendent
To see the entire MOU please follow this link:
Mammoth Cave BCH signs MOU with Mammoth Cave National Park