2017 Legislative Priorities: Funding for Trails, Getting the Next Generation Outdoors
The legislature is currently making the budget for the next biennium, making this a critical time for hikers to show support for the outdoors.
Ninety percent of Washingtonians walk, hike, climb and mountaineer each year. The majority do so by utilizing trails on public lands. This means that funding for public lands is critical to our culture and way of life.
The state legislature is currently making the budget for the next biennium, making this a critical time for hikers to show support for the outdoors.
WTA is requesting support for the following priorities during the 2017 state legislative session:
Teanaway Community Forest
Secure $775,773 (Operating budget request) and $1.5 million (Capital budget request) to ensure people are able to access and enjoy the Teanaway Community Forest. The Teanaway Community Forest is the first of its kind in Washington state. It represents a new model that allows the state to partner with communities to conserve the forests they love and manage them to ensure the protection of the landscape’s environmental, economic and social benefits.
No Child Left Inside
Fund $2.2 million (Operating) for this important program that provides invaluable grants to Washington state outdoor education and recreation programs for youth.
Washington Wildlife and Recreation Program (WWRP)
Fund the Washington Wildlife and Recreation Coalition’s $120 million (Capital) budget request for WWRP. WWRP is the largest source of funding for bike and ski trails in Washington. WWRP is also a critical funding source for hiking trails and walking paths. Important capital projects that would be funded include: Raging River State Forest trail development near Issaquah; McLane Creek Nature Trails renovation near Olympia; and Morning Star Trails development near Sultan.
Department of Natural Resources
Fund the Washington Department of Natural Resources’ requests for recreation funding including $8.1 million (Capital) for the Sustainable Recreation program and $948k (Operating) and $4.5 million (Capital) for the Natural Areas program. DNR lands provide substantial outdoor recreation opportunities, but investment by the state to complete vital recreational improvements and trail maintenance projects.
Washington State Parks
Support the Washington State Parks’ $174.5 million (Operating) and $96.5 million (Capital) budget requests. These funds would put State Parks on a pathway to restore the health of the agency and provide essential funding that would help reduce the more than $500 million deferred maintenance backlog for State Parks. Important capital projects that would be funded include: development of critical trail projects on the iconic cross-state John Wayne Trail and the Klickitat Trail.
Protecting hiking trails and access to trailheads around the state
Washington state has some of the best loved and visited open spaces and trails for hiking, walking, bicycling and horseback riding in the country. We ask for continued support for our state’s great trails from Mount Si to Mount Spokane.