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Hikers and Equestrians Converge on Olympia

Posted by Jonathan Guzzo at Jan 31, 2008 02:42 PM |

On Wednesday, January 30--yesterday, that is--around 50 hikers and backcountry horse folk gathered in Olympia to meet with their state legislators on WTA's second annual Lobby Day.  Representing 22 legislative districts, this crowd of exuberant outdoorspeople made the rounds, meeting their representatives and senators in their offices, walking them from place to place and asking them to step out of committee hearings to talk with them.

From my perspective as WTA's lobbyist, it was delightful to spend time in a sea of happy, motivated hikers and equestrians as they learned firsthand how to approach and lobby their elected officials.  It is too easy to become solidified in know-it-allness.  When I find myself thinking I know how Olympia works, I try to remember the fresh perspectives and wisdom that I learned from watching these people work.

Some highlights that I recalled as I was making my rounds today include accompanying one member to his very first lobby meeting, a meeting with a representative who just started his first session as a legislator.  It was fun watching them learn from each other.  Showing people the ropes of pulling their representatives out of a committee meeting was a blast as well.  It's easier than it sounds, and rewarding to see representatives and senators respond so quickly to their constituents.  And I loved how quickly everyone grasped the issues we are working on this year, and how excited they were to drill down into the details of policy and budget.

Everyone who attended enjoyed a morning dicussion of lobbying and policy by Representative Hans Dunshee (D-44th Legislative District), a truly decent person and a great friend of trail users in Olympia.  Thanks to Representative Dunshee for making the crowd laugh and teaching them how to connect with and talk to their elected officials.

Thanks also to everyone who attended, and thanks to the Backcountry Horsemen of Washington for being a great addition to our advocacy and trail maintenance programs.  For more information on WTA's advocacy objectives at the state and federal level, please see our Advocacy Agenda.  For more information on meeting with your senators or representatives, contact me at (206) 965-8558, or by email at