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January + February 2010 » Washington Trails


WTA at Work

Snowscape on Tiger Mountain, land man- aged by the state De- partment of Natural Resources. Photo by Anne Morrison.

Advocacy Agenda 2010

The top policy issues WTA will address in order to serve hikers

As Washington Trails Association looks ahead to the challenges and opportunities facing hikers in 2010, we have identified funding, resource protection and safety as our top concerns. Our advo- cacy agenda outlines the key actions we will take to advance the interests of hikers over the next twelve months. As always, hiker participation is key to our success.

Restore Funding for the Department of Natural Resources and the Non- highway and Off-road Vehicle Activities Program

In unsettled financial times, there are no safe bets. Last year, the legislature took action that was previously unthinkable. In order to keep State Parks open, the legislature transferred nearly $10 mil- lion in Non-highway and Off-road Vehicle Activity (NOVA) program funds from the pool of potential grant recipients and the state agencies that it directly funds. This has left the Department of Natu- ral Resources (DNR) reeling as they try to fill an enormous budget gap in their recreation program. On the federal level, national forest ranger districts, such as Cle Elum on the Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest, are wrestling with the challenges posed by losing a large and important component of their recreation program funding.

To restore needed funding, WTA will

  • Lead a coalition of recreation organizations to lobby the legislature to compensate DNR for the remaining year of the biennial NOVA allocation in the 2010 Supplemental Budget.

  • Advocate in fiscal committees in the state House and Senate to restore DNR's general fund cuts.

  • Strategize with advocates and agency staff to find innovative new ways to fund DNR's rec- reation program in accord with the recommendations of the Sustainable Recreation Working Group.

Bonanza Peak, deep within the Glacier Peak Wilderness. Photo by Krista Dooley.

Secure a 10 Percent Increase in the Fiscal Year 2011 Forest Service Budget

Congress has begun to take recreation seriously. The Interior Appropriations Committee in the House has presided over two consecutive budgets that increased funding for national forest recre- ation programs. The Troubled Assets Relief Program and the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act both contained significant funding for trails. But a great deal of work remains to be done, both in rolling back decades of neglect and in repairing trails and roads damaged by storms in recent years.

To encourage stronger funding for trails managed by the U.S. Forest Service, WTA will

  • Lobby Washington’s congressional delegation to rally support for a 10 percent increase in the Forest Service Recreation and Trails budget over Fiscal Year 2010 levels.

  • Lobby for a six-year authorization of the FLAME Act by the Senate, ensuring that recreation program funds will no longer be diverted to fight catastrophic wildfires.

  • Ensure that the National Recreation Trails Program, which makes significant grants to trail

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