January + February 2010 » Washington Trails
projects in Washington, is included in the upcoming six-year reau- thorization of the transportation budget.
Encourage Interior Appropriations budget writers to include funds for enforcement programs on National Forest lands to handle chal- lenges such as illegal target-shooting and the implementation of new federal rules on ORV use.
Stop Inappropriate Off-road Vehicle Use on National Forests
Several national forests in Washington are completing plans to determine where they will site motorized trails. The Off-Highway Vehicle Rule requires forests to decide specific trails on which off-road vehicle use will be legal, and then close off-trail areas to motorized recreation. On the Okanogan- Wenatchee National Forest, planners have considered substantial increases in motor- ized routes, some of which are alarmingly close to wilderness and nonmotorized op- portunities.
To prevent inappropriate ORV use on Photo by Karl Forsgaard. National Forests, WTA will
Demonstrate new ways of planning on the Okanogan-Wenatchee that balance the interests of the motorized community with the needs of nonmotorized recreation users and the wildlife that de- pends on intact landscapes.
Engage hikers local to the national forests interested in planning so that the interests of on-the-ground hiking communities can be heard.
Propose substantive comments to the Forest Service at all levels of planning, both by organizing attendees at public meetings and by providing in-depth comments supported by the best and most cur- rent research and on-the-ground information.
Ensure the Safety of Hikers
Due to the increase in shooting on public lands, the hiking community has become more concerned about the intersection of hunting and target shooting and other forms of recreation. Additionally, a number of National Forest land managers have begun to raise concerns about the unmanaged and proliferating nature of target shooting on public lands. While hikers and hunters can easily share the woods given enough informa-
Photo by U.S.F.S.
Hiker Lobby Day: February 3, 2010
If you haven’t marked your calendar for WTA’s fourth annual Lobby Day, please take a moment and do so today! On February 3, hikers from around the state will descend on Olympia to meet and talk with their legislators about the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) recreation budget, which suffered a 60 percent cut during the last legislative session. Those cuts could come at the cost of some of the state’s finest DNR-managed recreation sites—including Mount Si, Tiger Mountain and Gothic Basin.
Lobby Day is a great opportunity to see the legislature in action. As WTA’s lobbyist, I spend most of January through March in Olympia, meeting with legislators, attend- ing committee hearings and testifying on legislation. It’s important work, but nothing compared to constituents coming down to the Capitol to meet with their elected officials. Your legislators readily make time in their schedules and are genuinely interested in what you have to say about the issues that matter to hikers. They know you’re a voter and that they were elected to represent you—and they treat you accord- ingly, with respect and real interest.
If you’re interested in attending Hiker Lobby Day this year, please sign up through WTA’s website or contact Kindra Ramos at kindra@ wta.org. We will take care of scheduling meetings with your representatives and senator. t
tion and appropriate precautions, adequate information regarding hunt- ing areas and seasons is challenging to find on agency websites, in their publications and at the trailhead.
To increase the safety of our trails, WTA will:
Work with representatives in the hunting community to develop signs that would be placed by volunteers at trailheads around the state detailing when and where hikers might encounter hunters and what precautions hikers can take.
Lobby for funds in this year’s supplemental state budget to make the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife’s website easier for hikers to use.
Work with our federal elected officials to allocate funds for more law enforcement on national forests.