Grateful for the Wins: Some Good in a Tough Year
A moment of gratitude to our community for continuing to make so much possible. Together, helped hikers get outside, helped keep each other safe and even advanced some critical work for our mission.
In a hard year, we want to take a moment of deep gratitude to our community for continuing to make so much possible. Together, we helped hikers get outside, helped keep each other safe and even advanced some critical work for our mission. Below are just a few of the key victories that you — WTA members, volunteers, advocates and trip reporters — made possible this year.
Early in the pandemic, WTA helped providing critical leadership and expert guidance about hiking safely and responsibly that evolved as our community's needs evolved. We made it our goal to keep hikers informed about land closures and openings across the state while providing ongoing advice and educational resources throughout the spring, summer and fall to help hikers use lands and trails responsibly and with as little impact as possible.
When state lands began to reopen after the governor's Stay Home, Stay Healthy order, the Washington Recreate Responsibly Coalition was formed under the leadership of Washington Trails Association, outdoor retailer REI and state land managers. More than 70 organizations came together to create clear consistent guidelines to help everyone in our state get outside safely. And the work of the Washington coalition helped shape the national conversation.
More than 5 million people have turned to wta.org for information and advice in a year when public lands proved more important than ever. From searching by pass to adding new, free planning maps for popular trails, we continued to create new tools to help our community plan new adventures on more than 3,800 trails in our state.
In a major federal funding victory, WTA elevated the voices of thousands of hiker-advocates and continued decades-long work with our partners for critical trails and land victories, including an important funding victory this summer with passage of the federal Great American Outdoors Act. The act commits $900 million in annual permanent funding for the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF), and another $1.9 billion annually (for up to five years) for federal land management agencies to address their deferred maintenance backlogs.
On the ground, we continued work on rebooting a trail system that will sustain long into the future, laying down new trails in the Teanaway and planning for the future of the Mountain Loop.
We also managed to pivot our in-person programs and field work to continue to address trail maintenance and community needs in a safe, creative and effective way. We restarted trail work, establishing outstanding safety protocols. We found creative ways to continue support the communities we work with, adapting portions of our Outdoor Leadership Training workshop content into video form and even expanding the reach of communities we can serve with a second gear library in Tacoma.
This has been a tough year. A year that has touched everyone in our communities in different ways. A year when experiences in nature have meant more than ever. Which is why we are so grateful for the community supporting our work. Thank you for making these wins possible, and for giving us a solid foundation to build on in the coming months and years.