The budget is being made as we speak.
Lawmakers in Olympia are writing the state's budget as we speak. One of WTA's top legislative priorities this year is to ensure that the Washington State Department of Natural Resources (DNR) receives the funding it requires to maintain state public lands so they remain an accessible asset to the people of Washington.
Lawmakers can support our public lands by funding DNR's capital and operating budget requests, which includes $3.9 million for the Outdoor Recreation and Community Engagement program (operating) and $8.5 million (capital) for the Sustainable Recreation program. The capital budget funding will help new trail projects get started, and the operating helps maintain continual upkeep of existing projects.
Legislators need to hear why recreation lands matter to you.
DNR's budget requests include trail project investments spanning the state, from sites in the west on the Olympic Peninsula, to the east in Colville and Spokane, to the north in Bellingham and in the Cascade foothills of Issaquah and North Bend. Many proposed projects would provide new alternatives to nearby popular trails, while others provide opportunities to enhance entry-level hiking opportunities.
Some of our most-loved trails are on DNR land — places on the I-90 corridor like Tiger Mountain, Mount Si and Mailbox Peak, Capitol Forest outside of Olympia and Gothic Basin on the Mountain Loop Highway.
Without state investment in DNR's lands, these trails and trailheads won't be maintained to the levels required and plans for new trails will never get off the ground. In fact, DNR has already closed more than 30 sites since 2008 due to a lack of maintenance funding. There also won't be capacity to partner with organizations like WTA to carry out trail projects. In short, it will become increasingly difficult to keep these treasured places clean, maintained, safe, sustainable and managed in the future.
This is why your voice is needed.
Thank you for emailing your lawmakers. It sends them a strong message that their constituents — you — care deeply about Washington's state lands.