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WTA Meeting Elected Officials in Washington, DC this Week

Posted by Jonathan Guzzo at Feb 27, 2012 03:15 PM |

WTA's Executive Director, Karen Daubert, and board member, Jeff Chapman are in Washington, DC meeting with our state's elected officials this week advocating on behalf of the Recreation Trails Program, which helps fund critical trail maintenance projects in Washington and other states.

This week WTA's Executive Director, Karen Daubert, and board member, Jeff Chapman are in Washington, DC meeting with our state's elected officials. Their mission: help preserve the Recreational Trails Program (RTP).

RTP funds critical maintenance projects by the Forest Service and non-profit volunteer organizations like WTA, keeping hundreds of miles of trails hikable. In fact, our state receives roughly $1.8 million annually from RTP, a portion of which goes to WTA's trail maintenance program in the form of grants. Washington Trails Association then leverages this money several times over by using it to field volunteer work parties all over Washington state.

Nearly every hiker in Washington has benefited from the funds provided by RTP, but unfortunately this program is in jeopardy of being eliminated. That's why Karen and Jeff are in Washington, DC. And that's why we need you to contact Senators Murray and Cantwell and urge them to support RTP.

RTP dollars run out on March 31 when a continuing resolution for surface transportation expires. Unless Congress passes a surface transportation bill that reauthorizes the program by then - or extends surface transportation funding through another continuing resolution - RTP dollars will disappear.

But passing a bill means that the House and Senate have to agree, and they're a long way off on many critical elements of transportation funding. In fact, the House draft of the transportation bill includes RTP, but the Senate does not.

On Friday, Senator Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) introduced Senate Amendment (SA) 1661, which, among other things, restores RTP to the Senate version of the transportation bill, so that it aligns with the house.

This Wednesday, Karen and Jeff will be meeting with Washington's senators, Patty Murray and Maria Cantwell. They will be stressing the importance of RTP and Sen. Klobuchar's amendment for the long-term health of our trails and recreation in Washington state.

You can help make a lasting impression of WTA's visit by contacting Senator Murray and Senator Cantwell. Thank them for their long-time support of RTP and urge them to continue to fight for the program in the Senate by supporting SA 1661. Speak from your experience as a hiker and from your passion for Washington's outdoors.

Thank you for your continued support for trails!

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