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Jonathan Guzzo: A Dozen Years of Advocacy

Posted by Susan Elderkin at Nov 04, 2013 04:30 PM |

After twelve years as advocacy director, WTA bids a fond farewll to Jonathan Guzzo. As he takes the next step in his career, he leaves hikers in a much better position than when he arrived in 2001. From trail funding to coalition-building around trails, Jonathan has delivered time and again for hikers.

After twelve years as advocacy director, WTA bids a fond farewll to Jonathan Guzzo. As he takes the next step in his career, he leaves hikers in a much better position than when he arrived in 2001. From trail funding to coalition-building around trails, Jonathan has delivered time and again for hikers.

In 2001, WTA's advocacy program was focused almost completely on the state legislature. During his tenure, he took it from that narrow focus to a program that was effective across a broad range of issues and in many different venues, from state and federal land managers to the US Senate.

In Olympia, Jonathan poured his first three years of work into reforming the Non-Highway and Off-Road Vehicle Activities program (NOVA). This program allocates gas tax revenue for projects that are accessed via a non-highway road (like those on national forests and national parks). His efforts were instrumental in changing the allocation from being 20 percent for non-motorized projects to 80 percent, which has been a boon for trail maintenance projects around the state.

NOVA bill signing 2004
A blast from the past: former Governor Locke signs the NOVA reform bill on March 24, 2004. Jonathan Guzzo, who lobbied tirelessly for the bill, is in the back row, second from the left.
Under Jonathan's leadership, WTA also became a national leader for other funding programs, including the federal Recreation, Heritage and Wilderness and the Recreational Trails Programs as these came up for reauthorization. At the state level, Jonathan successfully advocated for funding for DNR lands and Washington State Parks.

Jonathan's collaborative approach brought together trail groups that had squabbled for years, uniting hikers with equestrians and mountain bikers in particular around issues of mutual importance. After researching a ground-breaking report about the state of recreational access on Washington's public lands last year, he took a lead role in pioneering the Sustainable Roads Analysis Process on the Mount Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest. This public process is culminating November 13 in Everett, and will help the Forest shrink the size of its massive road system.

"I'm proud of the work that I've done at WTA," reflected Jonathan Guzzo on his long tenure. "Our advocacy program is as respected as an innovative, engaged and effective model for positive change. Over the past twelve years, I have worked hard to address difficult issues in a collaborative spirit, and we've won important victories in the process."

Jonathan is taking some well-deserved time off before taking on his next professional venture.

"The time is right for me to take on new challenges and learn new skills. I'm looking forward to watching WTA as it continues to succeed on complex issues and win victories for hikers."

And WTA looks forward to working with Jonathan in whatever new position he takes on. We thank him for a great twelve years!

Comments

congrats to Jonathon!!

I would like a moment of your time to appreciate Jonathons awesome work. His years at WTA have been marked by amazing advocacy and changes to WTA's program. Best of luck Jonathon and thank you so much for all you've done for this organization. You Rock!!!!

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"BobnSusie" on Nov 14, 2013 01:59 PM