Hiker Headlines: Good News From 2022
The year is almost over, and we want take a moment to reflect on the good things that happened for trails and public lands in 2022. Public lands got more funding. WTA helped open new trails — and improve many more. And across the state, the hiking community came together to support each other and the places we care about.
It’s December 29. The year is almost over, and we want take a moment to reflect on the good things that happened for trails and public lands in 2022. Public lands got more funding. WTA helped open new trails — and improve many more. And across the state, the hiking community came together to support each other and the places we care about. Here’s some good news you may have missed while out on trail this year.
WTA wins we're excited about
- New leaders: Our Emerging Leaders Program (ELP), which helps create entry points to outdoor jobs, finished its second season. This year, there was a cohort of five — two members joined WTA as full-time staff members after the program and one joined an LTF crew. And we're excited to welcome our next cohort soon!
- Hike responsibly: The Glacier Peak Institute, in collaboration with WTA and the National Forest Foundation, led a pilot volunteer trailhead ambassador program on the Mountain Loop Highway. Volunteers provided information about recreating responsibly, one of the goals of WTA's Trails Rebooted campaign.
- So much trail work! We completed over 151,000 hours of trail work over 1,312 work parties and events in 2022. That includes 138 youth tackling over 4,000 hours of trail projects over the summer.
- Too much to list! WTA had so many exciting accomplishments in 2022 — read about even more!
Big wins for public lands funding
- A win years in the making: The Great American Outdoors Act (GAOA) — which WTA helped secure — provided funding for many long-deferred trail maintenance projects and an additional $503 million was acquired for outdoor recreation infrastructure this year.
- Money for roads and trails: Washington state received $6.3 million for forest projects through the Legacy Roads and Trails Program. Among the projects this funding will support are road repairs, fish passage improvements and trail maintenance.
- Good news for trees: 21 organizations were awarded a total of over $550,000 for projects on Washington’s urban and community forests. This funding will help with restoration projects like tree planting and invasive species control.
- Building connections: $29 million was granted for the Eastrail project, which will culminate in a 42-mile route connecting Renton and Snohomish County.
big improvements to outdoor areas and facilities
- Reopened and better than ever: The Snow Lake and Annette Lake trails got a lot of TLC from the Forest Service this summer, funded by the GAOA.
- Better beach access: The facilities at Ruby Beach also got some attention this year. The parking area, access road and restrooms were all improved and sidewalks, crosswalks, curbs and steps were added.
- A new area to play: Washington State Parks, along with WTA partner Friends of the Gorge, acquired the land adjacent to Beacon Rock State Park with plans to expand the park.
- Bridge makes a vital connection: The Beverly Bridge over the Columbia River opened earlier this year, connecting the Washington portion of the Palouse to Cascades Trail to the Idaho section.
- New playground and more! Skyway Park, near Renton, is fully open after improvement projects — including a new playground, two additional ADA parking spaces and a new lit and paved path through the park.
- New parks! The new 3-acre riverfront Upriver Park opened in Spokane. And King County Parks acquired 110 acres of land on Vashon Island with 4 miles of trails and large open fields; the area is now open for public use.
- Fire recovery: The Nesmith Point and Wyeth trails at the Columbia River Gorge in Oregon reopened after the 2017 Eagle Creek Fire, thanks to the work by the Trailkeepers of Oregon, Forest Service, Northwest Youth Corps and American Conservation Experience.
- Check it out: The Check Out Washington program — which allows the public to borrow adventure packs that include binoculars, guidebooks and a Discover Pass — is now part of every public library branch in Washington.
- Much-needed changes: The Washington State Department of Natural Resources’s Committee of Geographic Names approved the renaming of nine features in Washington from derogatory names. More name-change proposals continue to be filed, and we hope this approval is an indication of more changes to come.
- Outdoor rec is good for the economy: The Bureau of Economic Analysis released a report of statistics related to the 2021 outdoor recreation economy in the United States, and found that outdoor recreation generated more than $12 billion for Washington's economy and helped generate over 114,000 jobs.
We're so happy to look back on the highlights of the past year. And we're looking forward to more big wins in 2023. Thank you for joining us on the journey!
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