Trails for everyone, forever

Home Get Involved Take Action Increasing Trail Funding

Increasing Trail Funding

Funding for public lands has diminished significantly over the last 20 years, resulting in a backlog of unmaintained trails and facilities.

Funding for public lands has declined significantly over the last 20 years, resulting in a backlog of unmaintained trails.

We don't want to lose more trails. Join WTA in working to restore recreation funding at both the state and federal levels.


Funding the Recreation Trails Program (RTP)

Background: RTP is a program that channels revenue generated by the gas tax on non-highway recreational fuel use (snowmobiles, all-terrain vehicles, off-highway motorcycles, off-highway light trucks) into funding for recreational trails that provide a backcountry experience. These funds can be awarded to federal or state agencies as well as nonprofit organizations that provide volunteer trail maintenance.

  • Thanks to the hard work of our hiker advocates and allies in Congress, RTP has been reauthorized and was included in the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation (FAST) Act.

I want to hike when I grow up father son sign. Reauthorization of the Federal Lands Recreation Enhancement Act

Background: The Northwest Forest Pass has become an essential trails and recreation funding source for federal land management agencies. The legislation that runs it, the Federal Lands Recreation Enhancement Act (FLREA), is up for reauthorization in 2016.

    • WTA supports this reauthorization, but we are advocating for changes that will make it a more effective resource by making sure collected fees stay local and providing more flexibility for recreation sites.

      Keeping Washington State Parks open

      The challenge: People have been hiking, picnicking and camping in Washington State Parks for more than a century. But a lack of funding in recent years has forced park closures, reductions in hours for essential staff and a chronic lack of maintenance of trails and facilities.

        • WTA works with recreation partners in Olympia every year to ensure that funding is maintained for these state treasures.

        Funding fire fighting, prevention without raiding recreation budgets

        The challenge: The 2015 fire season came with an enormous bill, leaving land management agencies struggling to find funds for other programs and prevent next year's fire season from being as destructive. For the eighth time since 2002, the Forest Service had to transfer recreation funds in its own budget to cover fire-related expenses.

        • WTA is working in DC to advocate for forward looking legislation that would allow the Forest Service to prevent and fight fires while also taking care of essential recreation infrastructure. Bills have been introduced both the House (H.B. 167) and Senate (S. 235) to create a new funding source for fighting wildfires without forcing agencies to raid funds from other areas of their budgets. Currently, both bills have been submitted to committees.

            HOW YOU CAN HELP

            >> Sign up for the Trail Action Network to learn when important decisions are being made on funding issues.



            Two Programs Emerge to Benefit the Health and Well-Being of Washington's Children and Adults

            Aug 25, 2021

            Two successes from the 2021 legislative session will help connect the benefits of nature with the people of Washington state: The Parks Rx Pilot Program and Licensing for Outdoor, Nature-Based Child Care.

            Read More

            You Make Trails Happen: Hikers Speak Up on Washington Trails Day

            Aug 10, 2021

            On Saturday Aug. 7, several thousand hikers took action at trailheads and online, calling for better funding for the Forest Service in celebration of Washington Trails Day.

            Read More

            One Year Later: How the Great American Outdoors Act Is Funding Trail Fixes

            Aug 06, 2021

            One year on from the signing of the Great American Outdoors Act, funding for stewardship and maintenance of trails has helped WTA to make great strides in our work. With four more years of GAOA funding to go, we're optimistic at what we can achieve, but we know that making trails for everyone, forever will take a lot more work.

            Read More

            Outdoors Infrastructure Receives Big Boost in House, Looks for Support in Senate

            Jul 09, 2021

            The INVEST Act was passed through the U.S. House of Representatives with some legislation important to the outdoors — including the Legacy and Roads Trails Act, the Transit to Trails Act, and the Outdoors for All Act. But they are apart of a larger bill that is now in the hands of the Senate.

            Read More

            Hiker Headlines: City Nature, Trail Wins, CATbus to Dog Mountain, Billy Frank Jr.

            Apr 29, 2021

            The state legislative session wrapped up with big wins for trails. Hikers have a new transit option to get to Dog Mountain. The worldwide City Nature Challenge kicks off this week. A statue of Billy Frank Jr. will be placed at the National Capitol.

            Read More

            The 2021 State Legislative Session was Full of Wins for Trails

            Apr 28, 2021

            From bringing advocates together for our digital Hiker Rally to asking you to help get budgets over the line, we’ve been excited to share the power of advocates during this year's legislative session. This weekend, the state Legislature wrapped up its 2021 session and we're excited to report that outdoor recreation saw wonderful support from lawmakers.

            Read More

            Early Budget Proposals in Olympia Show Promising Support for Trails

            Apr 07, 2021

            With only a few weeks left before state lawmakers finalize budgets, we break down how things are looking for trails and outdoor recreation. See where things stand and take action.

            Read More

            Hiker Headlines: Funding, National Park Projects, Pro-Crew, Sno-Park Fee Increase

            Mar 25, 2021

            It’s March 25. Money from the Land and Water Conservation Fund will go to important conservation projects in Washington. North Cascades National Park announced plans to reroute a section of Stehekin Road, and in Olympic National Park a new entrance station will improve traffic flow. WTA is hiring for our first paid, pro trail-work crew. State Parks announced that Sno-Park fees will increase starting next winter. Here’s some news you may have missed while out on trail this week.

            Read More

            5 Big Take-Aways from WTA's First Virtual Hiker Rally

            Mar 17, 2021

            2021 brought a new twist to our biannual Hiker Rally Day — like many other events have been for the last year, it was all-virtual. WTA staff learned a lot about what it takes to move to an online format. But more importantly, we were inspired, as always, by our hiker advocates who showed up to speak out for our trails and public lands.

            Read More

            From Awe to Ah-Hah!: 4 Advocates Realize the Power of Their Voices for Trails

            Mar 11, 2021

            When did you realize that trails don’t just appear in the woods? Or that your favorite trail probably exists in part thanks to hikers like you? If you haven't had that "ah-hah!" moment yet, it's understandable. The path towards establishing and protecting trails is winding (much like those trails we love so much). But in the same way that you can lay the foundation for memorable summer adventures by tuning into permit season each year in February, hikers like you can help build a lifetime of adventure by consistently participating in advocacy work.

            Read More

            GAOA Provides Vital Funding for Public Lands

            Mar 03, 2021

            The Great American Outdoors Act was a huge win for the outdoor community. Here’s some of the ways it will help Washington.

            Read More

            Hiker Headlines: Weather Advisory, Lunar New Year, Backcountry Trips, LWCF

            Feb 11, 2021

            It’s February 11. This weekend promises to bring extreme winter weather. Lunar New Year is tomorrow. Registration for WTA’s backcountry trips goes live this Saturday. There are new changes to the Land and Water Conservation Fund. We have valentines for that special hiker in your life.

            Read More

            It's All Online: Legislative Session and Hiker Rally 2021

            Jan 11, 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.

            Read More

            Hiker Headlines: Thankful for the Outdoors, Funding for Projects, Virtual Events

            Nov 25, 2020

            It’s November 25. Consider 6 outdoor activities to celebrate the season in addition to #OptOutside, which is this Friday. The Forest Service is accepting public comment on which projects should be funded. In-person events put on by the Mount Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest will go virtual this winter. And, a turkey visits a national park. Here’s some news you may have missed while out on trail this week.

            Read More

            Science Says Building the Outdoors for Kids is Better for Everyone

            Oct 12, 2020

            Research has confirmed that nature is good for kids. That's why WTA has been working to create a future that ensures kids have more access to nature.

            Read More

            The Great American Outdoors Act was, Indeed, Great - Now, What’s Next?

            Aug 18, 2020

            The outdoor recreation world is buzzing after the Great American Outdoors Act (GAOA) passed and was signed by the president recently. With billions of additional dollars now invested in public lands, we've all been wondering: What’s next? Where might these investments go? And how might the government take on the hefty task of addressing their maintenance backlogs?

            Read More

            New Report Shows Outdoor Recreation Economy Stronger Than Ever

            Aug 13, 2020

            A new report about the outdoor recreation economy in Washington shows just how important hikers' contributions are to making our state thrive. From money added to the overall economy to the 264,000 people employed by recreation, it's clear that we need to continue to advocate for increased investment in the outdoor community.

            Read More

            How Powerful Partnerships Help WTA Build a Better Future for Trails

            Aug 13, 2020

            WTA has been bringing people together for years. By building connections, finding middle ground and creating shared goals, we are moving toward our vision of trails for everyone, forever. Here are a few recent examples of how, when we come together, we can do more for trails and the hiking community.

            Read More

            We Need Trails, on Washington Trails Day and Every Day!

            Aug 05, 2020

            This Washington Trails Day — our state's official holiday for trails — we asked our community why they need trails. Here's what you told us.

            Read More

            Hiker Headlines: Big News for Public Lands, Goats Fly, Borrow a Discover Pass, Cover Your Face

            Jul 23, 2020

            The Great American Outdoors Act, a critical piece of legislation for public lands, passed Congress this week. Mountain goats are flying via helicopter from the Olympic mountains to their new home in the Cascades. Libraries across the state are reopening and offering Discover Passes for checkout. And, yes, face coverings are still an essential part of your trail attire: keep bringing them and keep wearing them when passing other folks. Here’s some news you might have missed while out on trail this week.

            Read More

            Victory! Congress Approves Vital Funding for Public Lands

            Jul 22, 2020

            The Great American Outdoors Act has passed the Senate and the House. With full funding for the Land and Water Conversation Fund and $9.5 billon for the backlog of maintenance on federal lands, the Great American Outdoors Act is a historic piece of public lands legislation. Thank you for helping to make it happen!

            Read More

            Hiker Headlines: Write Your Representative, Latino Conservation Week, Comet, Rainier Q&A

            Jul 16, 2020

            It's July 16. Please write to your House member right now to support the Great American Outdoors Act. Latino Conservation Week kicks off soon. We have some tips on where you can hike to see the comet. And Mount Rainier's superintendent answers some questions about this summer.

            Read More

            What to Expect at Mount Rainier This Summer: Q&A With Rainier's Superintendent

            Jul 10, 2020

            WTA staff recently sat down — over Zoom — with Chip Jenkins, superintendent of Mount Rainier National Park, to gain some behind the scenes insight on what we can expect at the park this year.

            Read More

            Hiker Headlines: Act Now for Public Lands, Coronavirus, Online Events

            Jul 09, 2020

            It's July 9. If you act now, you can help public lands get vital funding for years to come. WTA joined partners for an exciting talk about the value of time outside, and how we can help more people enjoy time in nature. Coronavirus continues to disrupt some outdoors services. And we have ideas for a few — remote — events to celebrate the outdoors. Here's some news you might have missed while out on trail this week.

            Read More

            Hiker Headlines: Standing Against Racism, Juneteenth, Enchantments Delays, Public Lands Bill

            Jun 18, 2020

            It's June 18. WTA commits to standing against racism. Juneteenth is tomorrow, here are a few ways to honor the day. Expect major delays if you're hiking the Enchantments soon. And funding for public lands is making progress in Congress.

            Read More

            Hiker Headlines: Mount Rainier and North Cascades Openings, Hopeful News for Public Lands

            Jun 11, 2020

            It’s June 11. Mount Rainier is opening up more areas for day use. North Cascades National Park will begin to allow camping and backpacking. An important bill for public lands is making progress in the U.S. Senate. And if you want to get outside but don't have the gear you need, there's a new option for easy rentals via the mail. Here’s some news you might have missed this week.

            Read More

            Celebrate National Park Week With a Look Back

            Apr 22, 2020

            This year, while many trails and public lands are undergoing temporary closures, the annual celebration will be taking a turn for more virtual programming. And at WTA, we wanted to play our part in finding ways to celebrate online.

            Read More

            Hiker Headlines: OK to Hike Right Now? Some Good News for Trails, Coronavirus & WTA

            Mar 19, 2020

            It’s March 19. Coronavirus is dominating the news. Our thoughts are with our community and everyone who is being affected. With the need to distance from other folks, we have some advice on how to get outside responsibly and safely. And, in these challenging, uncertain times, we’re happy to share a bit of good news from the state legislature. Here’s some news you might have missed with everything else going on this week.

            Read More

            Some Good News. Outdoor Recreation Wins in the State Budget

            Mar 16, 2020

            The 2020 state legislative session is over and there were lots of wins for public lands and outdoor recreation. Our lawmakers supported everything from sustainable funding sources and Discover Passes in libraries to State Parks and No Child Left Inside. Take a moment to thank them.

            Read More

            Landmark Legislation Puts Funding for LWCF and Federal Trail Maintenance Backlog in Reach

            Mar 12, 2020

            Landmark legislation for federal public lands has been introduced in the Senate. The Great American Outdoors Act includes both permanent funding for the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) and billions of dollars to address the maintenance backlog on federal lands. Keep up-to-date on this historic moment!

            Read More