New Year, New State Legislative Session: Our Big Goals for 2020 and How You Can Help
The 2020 legislative session is now in session. Learn about WTA's budget priorities for the upcoming year.
During the first months of every year, staff from Washington Trails Association hike the halls of the state capital to advocate on behalf of hikers. We speak with our elected officials to ensure their support for trail funding and maintenance; state agency staffing and necessary equipment; and we work with them to advance policies that encourage equitable access to the outdoors.
The 2020 session starts today and is scheduled to last for 60 days. This year is the second year of the state's budget cycle. That means budget requests and WTA’s legislative priorities for funding support are supplemental to last year’s requests, rather than for sweeping new investments. Take a look at what happened during the 2019 session.
Here's a look at the supplemental support WTA is requesting for our state agencies and programs during the 2020 legislative session:
Support HB 2413: Concerning funding for wildfire prevention and preparedness activities
This bill will raise revenue to support the Department of Natural Resources' work to prevent and combat devastating wildfires. These wildfires limit outdoor recreation and hiking opportunities, among other harmful effects.
DEPARTMENT OF NATURAL RESOURCES
DNR lands provide substantial outdoor recreation opportunities. We support DNR’s request for:
- $560,000 (operating) for law enforcement capacity to provide safe and reliable public access to state trust lands.
WASHINGTON STATE PARKS
We support State Parks efforts to help reduce the $500 million in deferred maintenance backlog and expand pivotal youth programming by supporting requests for:
- $4.785 million (operating) for park maintenance to meet demands of increasing use.
- $972,000 (operating) for Community and Youth Engagement Programs like inclusive on-site youth learning, the junior ranger program and multilingual services.
NO CHILD LEFT INSIDE
This program, which is jointly overseen by the Recreation and Conservation Office and State Parks and Recreation Commission, provides vital grants to Washington state outdoor education and recreation programs for youth. In 2019, the grant program’s success generated significant interest, but there was not sufficient funding to meet the demand — $6.5 million in grant funding requests for this program were left unfunded. We support:
- $500,000 (operating) in additional funding is requested to address some of the unmet needs of this program.
Stay in the loop
Sign up for our Trail Action Network to stay in the loop of what's going on. (A short legislative session means we aren't holding Hiker Rally Day this year.) 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 2019 legislative session, advocates like you took more than 4,500 individuals actions and sent almost 13,000 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.