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2017 Legislative Priorities: Funding for Trails, Getting the Next Generation Outdoors

The legislature is currently making the budget for the next biennium, making this a critical time for hikers to show support for the outdoors.

middleforkteanawaybydavidhagen.jpeg

The Middle Fork Teanaway River winds through the state's first Community Forest, an area in need of funding this year. Photo by David Hagen.

Ninety percent of Washingtonians walk, hike, climb and mountaineer each year. The majority do so by utilizing trails on public lands. This means that funding for public lands is critical to our culture and way of life.

The state legislature is currently making the budget for the next biennium, making this a critical time for hikers to show support for the outdoors.

WTA is requesting support for the following priorities during the 2017 state legislative session:

Teanaway Community Forest

Secure $775,773 (Operating budget request) and $1.5 million (Capital budget request) to ensure people are able to access and enjoy the Teanaway Community Forest. The Teanaway Community Forest is the first of its kind in Washington state. It represents a new model that allows the state to partner with communities to conserve the forests they love and manage them to ensure the protection of the landscape’s environmental, economic and social benefits.

No Child Left Inside

Fund $2.2 million (Operating) for this important program that provides invaluable grants to Washington state outdoor education and recreation programs for youth.

Washington Wildlife and Recreation Program (WWRP)

Fund the Washington Wildlife and Recreation Coalition’s $120 million (Capital) budget request for WWRP. WWRP is the largest source of funding for bike and ski trails in Washington. WWRP is also a critical funding source for hiking trails and walking paths. Important capital projects that would be funded include: Raging River State Forest trail development near Issaquah; McLane Creek Nature Trails renovation near Olympia; and Morning Star Trails development near Sultan.

Department of Natural Resources

Fund the Washington Department of Natural Resources’ requests for recreation funding including $8.1 million (Capital) for the Sustainable Recreation program and $948k (Operating) and $4.5 million (Capital) for the Natural Areas program. DNR lands provide substantial outdoor recreation opportunities, but investment by the state to complete vital recreational improvements and trail maintenance projects.

Washington State Parks

Support the Washington State Parks’ $174.5 million (Operating) and $96.5 million (Capital) budget requests. These funds would put State Parks on a pathway to restore the health of the agency and provide essential funding that would help reduce the more than $500 million deferred maintenance backlog for State Parks. Important capital projects that would be funded include: development of critical trail projects on the iconic cross-state John Wayne Trail and the Klickitat Trail.

Protecting hiking trails and access to trailheads around the state

Washington state has some of the best loved and visited open spaces and trails for hiking, walking, bicycling and horseback riding in the country. We ask for continued support for our state’s great trails from Mount Si to Mount Spokane.

Comments

Blanchard Mountain is at risk of logging

WTA members from across the state, if you have hiked or would like to hike Oyster Dome or Blanchard mountain lookout trails, please contact your legislators and ask them to fund the 2007 agreement with the DNR to spare the core 1600 acres of Blanchard Mountain from logging. Without a 7.7 million commitment from the legislature in the 2017 session, logging will start this summer. I hope WTA takes this as another legislative priority, as this beautiful mountain is incredibly popular with hikers from all over, and if it is logged, it will be a long time before the trees grow back to provide the forest hike we all know and love. Please contact your legislators now! For more information, go to www.conservationnw.org/blanchard

Posted by:


TracyJ on Jan 27, 2017 01:03 PM

Blanchard Mountain

Thanks for posting a comment on this Tracy. I have been asking WTA to support this cause since the 2007 agreement was finalized. Skagit Land Trust and Conservation Northwest have consistently asked the Legislator to fund this. I have attended Lobby Day for years now and have brought up the matter with the 40th District Legislators each time. Frankly, I have felt like a rather lonely voice and would appreciate a larger effort from WTA as an organization.

Posted by:


Marty; Have saw, will travel. on Jan 29, 2017 12:50 PM

Blanchard Mountain

Hi Tracy and Marty,

Thanks for getting in touch. WTA is very supportive of the cooperative agreement to purchase Blanchard Mountain state trust lands. We have been working with Conservation Northwest and other local groups on Blanchard and following their lead. We will have a blog up shortly with more information on actions advocates can take to show their support as well. Last year we posted this blog about the situation: https://www.wta.org/signpost/outdoors-enthusiasts-seek-protection-for-blanchard-mountain. Stay tuned for the blog -- likely early to mid next week.

--Andrea, Advocacy Director

Posted by:


Andrea Imler on Feb 02, 2017 08:17 AM

Wallace Falls

Hi Just learned that Wallace Falls is about to go to auction on February 22nd to logging companies and a compromise to leave 25 acres behind has failed. Is there any actions/calls etc we can make to stop this?

Posted by:


gearboy18 on Feb 15, 2017 08:35 AM