WTA's bi-annual is coming up on March 10 and 11. It is critical that the hiking community comes out in force to make their voices heard.
Meeting with your representatives can feel like quite an undertaking, but attending a Hiker Rally is actually a fun and easy way to help protect the trails you love. In hopes of taking the mystery out of Rally Day, here are answer some of the questions we get asked most often about these events plus some additional info on what it means to be going virtual this year.
Why should I register in advance?
We can only schedule meetings with your legislator when we know constituents from your district will be present. Legislators' schedulers require advance notice, so we greatly appreciate you committing to attend in advance!
Can a day of Trainings meetings be fun?
Amazingly, it is! This is a great chance to meet other hikers from across the state, do a little networking and perhaps get some trail recommendations. Plus you get to be an active part of the democratic process and maybe learn something new.
I'm seeing The event is March 10 and 11. Do I have to dedicate two full days to this?
You definitely do not! In fact, we ultimately decided to split our longer, single-day event into two shorter days so that people could have more flexibility with their busy schedules.
So what is the time commitment for me, then?
The short answer: 2 hours and 15 minutes split between two days (with the option for an additional one hour happy hour).
The long answer: On Wednesday March 10, Hiker Rally will kick of with a required training session from 9:30am to 11:00am. During this time, we'll walk you through our issues, share how legislator meetings will go and have comments from our guest speaker. Everyone will then convene in breakout rooms where they will get a chance to meet other folks from their district before the actual meetings with lawmakers will occur.
Each person will have three, 15-minute long legislator meetings — one with your state senator and one with each of your 2 state representatives. These meetings are ultimately dependent on the lawmakers' availability. You will receive meeting times the week prior to Hiker Rally. While we can't give you exact times until then, we can tell you that they will be during the hours of 11:00am-4:00pm on Wednesday, March 10 and 9:45am to 3:45pm on Thursday, March 11.
Then, we will end the event with an optional Trails Celebration Happy Hour from 4:00pm to 5:00pm on March 11.
Does it really matter if I meet with my representative? I can't make a difference.
It does matter! WTA has been advocating in both Washingtons (D.C. and Olympia) for years, and we can tell you that your voice matters. There is a lot of skepticism and belief that lawmakers only listen to big money but that simply isn't the case. Think of all the different issues your representatives are asked to vote on. There is no way they can be an expert on everything. Often they rely on experts from various fields and the opinions of their constituents (that's you).
Do I have to meet with my representative by myself?
When we schedule meetings for Hiker Rally, it is generally one meeting per office. That means your meeting would be you and anyone else who signed up for rally day from your district. If you want to guarantee you have a buddy, ask your neighbor to sign up and join you. If you are the only one from your district, a WTA staffer will be happy to join you.
I didn't vote for my representative. will they still listen to me?
Yes. They work for everyone who lives in their district — but maybe don't lead with the fact that you didn't vote for them at your meeting, if that's the case.
Do I have to be an issue expert? I don't know anything about how the budget works.
You definitely don't have to be an expert! Sharing your personal trail experiences and passion for hiking with your representatives is all you need to come equipped with. Our training on March 10 will provide you with all of the other high-level items you might want to bring up.
Who can attend rally day?
The short answer is, anyone! We get a mix of hikers from all walks of life at our Hiker Rally. While some attendees are retired, others have chosen to take the day off work or school because they feel so strongly about keeping trails open. If you can't take the day off work, we will have other ways to make your voice heard.
What should I wear?
Ah, the benefits of a virtual event! Professional work attire is appropriate as you want to make a good impression during your meetings. You don't definitely don't need a three-piece suit — and as we've learned this last year, you can still look professional on the top and be comfortable on the bottom (ahem, sweatpants).
should I bring Anything to my meetings?
It's always a good idea to pen and notebook if you'd like to take notes, or to have some talking points written out. Aside from that, all you really need to bring is a positive attitude and a willingness to share your story.
So how do I sign up?
Registration is now close.
I've never used zoom before. What do i need to know?
Have no fear. We have created an instruction guide with some tips that we will share with you.