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This Summer, Hikers Stepped Up for Trails

Posted by Christina Hickman at Sep 03, 2018 12:30 PM |

Here's how hikers worked hard for trails this summer. Plus, how WTA has been working behind the scenes to plan a future for trails.

Over the past couple of months, hiker-advocates have stepped up in a big way for trails. Here are just a few of the ways that the WTA community and staff have worked to protect and create a future for trails.

3 ways hikers spoke up for trails

Washington Trails Day volunteers at the Snow Lake trailhead. Over 3,000 hikers have signed the pledge to prioritize recreation spending in national forests..jpg
Washington Trails Day volunteers at the Snow Lake trailhead. Almost 3,500 hikers have signed the pledge to prioritize recreation spending in national forests.

Over the last month, the WTA hiking community has really stepped up.

  1. More than 2,000 hikers emailed Chelan County after they released the Icicle Strategy, a water management plan that would take unprecedented action in the Alpine Lakes Wilderness area and threatened to change the iconic Enchantments region forever. Thank you for speaking up and making the collective voice of the hiking community heard. We don’t expect to hear much until late September when the Icicle Working Group is meeting to discuss a preferred alternative.

  2. Across the state, 1,225 hikers celebrated national forest trails by signing our petition on Washington Trails Day (Saturday Aug. 4). A special thanks to 21 WTA volunteers and ambassadors stationed at 5 trailheads (and REI Spokane)! Couldn’t make it out? You can still sign our petition to prioritize funding for recreation. Want to visit one of Washington’s 7 (yes, 7!) national forests? Here’s some hiking inspiration.

  3. We launched a campaign last month to get hikers to hone their Leave No Trace skills and more than 400 hikers (and counting) have pledged to to pick up and pack out trash on trail. If you haven't already, post a photo on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram with the hashtag #LeaveNoTrashOnTrail and you'll be entered to win a @DeuterUSA Dirtbag!

Behind the scenes with WTA

So much of the work we do happens in conference rooms and at public meetings, working with our partners, and hours spent reading through 45-page environmental impact statements and management plans ... you know, the fun stuff! Here are some ways you may not know about that we’ve been working on to make our outdoors more accessible:

  • WTA has acted in support of the King County Land Conservation Initiative (LCI), a bold vision to help King County protect its natural lands and green spaces. The LCI also dedicates $160 million over 30 years to eliminate disparities in access to parks and open space for communities with the greatest and most acute needs. The King County Council approved the measure on July 30.  
  • WTA, alongside some partner organizations, submitted comments on the Dungeness Watershed Roads Management Project in the Olympic National Forest. WTA's comments focused on issues surrounding road access to the Maynard Burn Trailhead, Tubal Cain Trailhead & Silver Lakes Way Trail and the Lower Dungeness/Gold Creek Trailheads.
  • WTA submitted further comment letters providing input on the Heybrook Ridge Lower Trail to create more accessible interpretive trails in Snohomish County, the Middle Wind Thinning Project, which is an expansive restoration project in the Gifford Pinchot National Forest, and Tennant Trailhead Park, which would build a new trailhead in the I-90 corridor.

Working for federally-managed lands

Part of our work is making sure our elected officials hear what hikers want and keeping our community informed of nationwide issues that impact our trails.

WTA executive director Jill Simmons, advocacy director Andrea Imler, and board member Bruce Burger got a sneak peak of a new trail coming this fall on a hike with outdoor champion Representative Suzan DelBene and friends from Mountains to Sound Greenway Trust.

WTA is tracking the following federal policies:

  • Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF). LWCF has been a commitment to saving natural areas and providing funds to support outdoor recreation communities for over 50 years. In September, this program will expire. Senator Maria Cantwell has been active in reauthorizing the program and creating permanent funding for it, which WTA supports.

  • Restore Our Parks Act (S 3172). WTA has signed on in support of this recent legislative effort. The bill would create the National Park Service Legacy Restoration Fund, which would earmark revenue from energy production for restoration projects in National Parks.

  • Confluence Accords. This July in Denver, Governor Jay Inslee signed onto the Accords with representatives from seven other states. The Accords represent a bipartisan commitment to outline principles and guidance for supporting the outdoor recreation industry.

  • Farm Bill. WTA has signed onto a letter opposing the new Farm Bill, which is rife with provisions that undermine bedrock environmental laws including the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) and Roadless Rule.

Upcoming events

Looking for ways to meet advocacy-loving hikers in person? Stay up-to-date about opportunities to speak up for trails or attend an event in your area, sign up for our Trail Action Network!

And here are a few upcoming events.


Hiker Potluck Northwest
Chuckanut Brewery - South Nut, Burlington
Wednesday, September 13
6:00 PM - 8:00 PM
Join WTA’s northwest regional manager Arlen Bogaards and Mount Baker district ranger Erin Uloth for an evening of food and trail talk. Main dish and drinks provided but attendees are encouraged to bring a side dish or dessert. There will be a short presentation and Q&A. RSVP here.

Blanchard Party
Samish Overlook
Sunday, September 16
9:00 AM – 4:00 PM
After a nearly 20-year effort, Blanchard Mountain south of Bellingham is finally protected! This free event includes guided hikes and bike rides, live music from Bellingham’s The Yankee Drivers, a BBQ, and remarks from key leaders in this effort, including Commissioner of Public Lands Hilary Franz. Click here to learn more and RSVP.

Ever wonder who to ask about protecting and advocating for trails? Reach out to WTA's advocacy team!

Andrea Imler, Advocacy Director. She can answer questions about WTA's advocacy program's strategy, positions and general management of the program.
James Moschella, Policy & Planning Manager. He can answer questions state policy, trail planning efforts, world flags, and our Trail Action Network.
Christina Hickman, Advocacy Associate. She can answer questions about our advocacy content on our blog and website, and in our magazine and action alerts.
Allie Tripp, Strategic Initiatives Manager. She can answer questions about the Lost Trails Found campaign and WTA's research on barriers to accessing the outdoors.