Increasing Trail Funding
Funding for public lands has declined significantly over the last 20 years, resulting in a backlog of unmaintained trails.
We don't want to lose more trails. Join WTA in working to restore recreation funding at both the state and federal levels.
TRAIL FUNDING PRIORITIES
Funding the Recreation Trails Program (RTP)
Background: RTP is a program that channels revenue generated by the gas tax on non-highway recreational fuel use (snowmobiles, all-terrain vehicles, off-highway motorcycles, off-highway light trucks) into funding for recreational trails that provide a backcountry experience. These funds can be awarded to federal or state agencies as well as nonprofit organizations that provide volunteer trail maintenance.
- Thanks to the hard work of our hiker advocates and allies in Congress, RTP has been reauthorized and was included in the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation (FAST) Act.
Reauthorization of the Federal Lands Recreation Enhancement Act
Background: The Northwest Forest Pass has become an essential trails and recreation funding source for federal land management agencies. The legislation that runs it, the Federal Lands Recreation Enhancement Act (FLREA), is up for reauthorization in 2016.
- WTA supports this reauthorization, but we are advocating for changes that will make it a more effective resource by making sure collected fees stay local and providing more flexibility for recreation sites.
Keeping Washington State Parks open
The challenge: People have been hiking, picnicking and camping in Washington State Parks for more than a century. But a lack of funding in recent years has forced park closures, reductions in hours for essential staff and a chronic lack of maintenance of trails and facilities.
- WTA works with recreation partners in Olympia every year to ensure that funding is maintained for these state treasures.
Funding fire fighting, prevention without raiding recreation budgets
The challenge: The 2015 fire season came with an enormous bill, leaving land management agencies struggling to find funds for other programs and prevent next year's fire season from being as destructive. For the eighth time since 2002, the Forest Service had to transfer recreation funds in its own budget to cover fire-related expenses.
- WTA is working in DC to advocate for forward looking legislation that would allow the Forest Service to prevent and fight fires while also taking care of essential recreation infrastructure. Bills have been introduced both the House (H.B. 167) and Senate (S. 235) to create a new funding source for fighting wildfires without forcing agencies to raid funds from other areas of their budgets. Currently, both bills have been submitted to committees.
HOW YOU CAN HELP
>> Sign up for the Trail Action Network to learn when important decisions are being made on funding issues.