It's All Online: Legislative Session and Hiker Rally 2021
The 2021 legislative session is now underway. Learn about WTA's budget priorities and how to use your voice to support trails and public lands.
It's January so that means that we are back in Olympia for the state legislative session — well, on our screens anyway. Even though the 2021 session will be held all online, WTA will still be speaking with elected officials to ensure their support for funding our state land management agencies and advocating for programs and policies that create equitable access to the outdoors. And we are ramping up for a new spin on our Hiker Rally in March and we hope you'll rally with us.
The 2021 session starts today and is scheduled to last for 105 days. The state Senate and House of Representatives meet in session each year to create new laws, change existing laws and enact budgets for the state. This year is the first year of the state's two-year budget cycle, meaning there will be proposed operating (on-going funding for existing projects) and capital (funding for new projects) budgets. Read about what happened during the 2020 session.
Here's a look at the support WTA is requesting for our state agencies and programs during the 2021 legislative session:
DEPARTMENT OF NATURAL RESOURCES
DNR lands provide substantial outdoor recreation opportunities. WTA supports DNR’s request for:
- Sustainable Recreation: $8.5 million (capital) for developing and renovating trails and campgrounds, and to increase public access on state recreation lands.
- Natural Areas Facilities Access and Preservation: $5.05 million (capital) for improving facilities such as trails and day-use sites in natural areas across the state.
- Teanaway/Klickitat Community Forest: $2.4 million (capital) for implementing management projects that improve trails and recreational access and enhance watershed health and wildlife habitat.
WASHINGTON STATE PARKS
Washington’s state parks provide hundreds of miles of hiking trails and thousands of acres of green space in every corner of the state. WTA supports State Parks’ requests for:
- $219 million (operating) for park operations and programs and to reduce gaps in service to meet increasing visitation at parks across the state.
- $122.4 million (capital) for facilities investments to reduce the maintenance backlog.
Washington Wildlife and Recreation Program:
WWRP is a critical funding source for hiking trails and walking paths in Washington state. WTA supports:
- $140 million (capital) as requested by the Recreation and Conservation Funding Board.
NO CHILD LEFT INSIDE
This program, administered by the Recreation and Conservation Office and State Parks and Recreation Commission, provides grants to Washington state outdoor education and recreation programs for youth. WTA supports:
- State Parks’ on-going funding for No Child Left Inside
- A one-time $500,000 (operating) request to help with unmet demand of the No Child Left Inside program
MArk your calendar for Hiker Rally 2021
While we can’t be in person rallying for trails this year, we can still make our voices are heard. For the first time, WTA will host an all-online Hiker Rally event. We're excited that more hikers from all around the state will be able to join us — no driving to Olympia!
We're also using this unique opportunity to try some new things! In the past, Rally Day was a single full day of trainings, meetings and social time with fellow hikers. But to accommodate folks’ busy schedules, we’ve decided to split the long single day event into two days with less time commitment. We’ll hold a kick-off training session for everyone on March 10 and wrap up with a virtual happy hour on March 11. Hikers will then have 15-minute meetings with their three legislators on either March 10 or March 11.
New to Hiker Rally Day? We provide the training for you to meet with your legislators in support of trails and public lands. We’ll coach you on the legislative priorities, connect you with other hikers in your legislative district and set up all of your legislator meetings. All ages are encouraged to attend. Register to attend today.
Stay in the loop
Sign up for our Trail Action Network to stay in the loop of what's going on. We will keep you updated on the important policy proposals that affect hikers, and let you know how you can connect with lawmakers and land managers. During our shortened 2020 legislative session, advocates like you took more than 1,000 individuals actions and sent almost 2,000 emails sent to our state lawmakers. That input from constituents has a real effect on lawmakers' decisions. Thank you for using your voice to help trails.
Sign in support of Trails and public lands during the 2021 legislative session