Governor Gregoire Supports Trail Funding
In a major victory for Washington trails this month, Governor Gregoire determined that Washington would use Recreational Trails Program (RTP) funds disbursed by Congress earlier this summer as part of the recently passed Surface Transportation Extension Act of 2012 to fund recreation-program grants.
The Governor could have diverted the funds into highway projects, but after hearing from WTA, hikers and other recreation advocates, she kept the funds focused where they belong: on trails.
RTP: essential to trail maintenance
WTA receives $175,000 annually from RTP -- nearly 20 percent of our Trail Maintenance Program budget. We leverage that money four or five times over when we field volunteer work parties. Without it, WTA would have been forced to significantly scale back a trail maintenance program that both hikers and land management agencies have come to rely upon.
WTA and a number of other organizations weighed in with comments to Governor Gregoire. We told the story of the program. Recreation advocates told her how important RTP is to their programs, to Washington's quality of life and to the economy that it sustains. She heard us loud and clear, and early this month, we received word that she would continue to fund recreation funds using RTP dollars.
What will RTP fund? WTA uses RTP funds to field Backcountry Response Teams, Volunteer Vacations and to fund our Youth Program. They help us work in Holden Village, at Bird Creek Meadows, on the PCT or in Leadbetter State Park. They help us get young people out for a transformative week in the woods on the Hoh River Trail or at Spray Park. Most importantly, the funds allow the great trail maintenance work we do on these lands to continue, and hikers across the state will benefit.
Thank you for supporting trails!
Thank you to everyone who spoke up on behalf of the program. Without the support of our members, volunteers and the many other hikers who stood up and were heard, we might have lost RTP!