Lobby Day Wrap-up
Thank you to all of our Hiker Lobby Day activists, both on-the-ground and virtual. You Rocked!
Whether you were one of the 70 hikers who made it to Olympia or among the dozens of virtual activists who called and emailed your legislators, thank you for speaking out for trails! Last Wednesday, hikers from around the state joined WTA for Hiker Lobby Day. The sun was out in Olympia and I could not have asked for the day to go any better.
In the morning, hikers were provided the tools they needed to be successful activists. Advocacy Director Jonathan Guzzo gave an informative briefing on the Discover Pass legislation and the looming closures to state lands that could happen if a sustainable source of recreation funding is not implemented.
Once the attendees had an understanding of the legislation, I gave a training on how to meet with an elected officials. Really the steps are simple: make your “ask” specific – please support the Discover Pass; make your reasoning personal and local – "I spend my Sundays hiking in the state park in your district;" and always be polite and honest. The challenge is that meetings with elected officials can be very short, two to five minutes in some cases, so you want to have your thoughts organized before your meetings.
Energized with their new tips and information, activists hiked the three blocks to the Capitol to meet with their representatives, but they did not go into these meetings alone. An exciting new element to Lobby Day this year was that WTA’s on-ground attendees had the support of WTA’s virtual lobbyists.
WTA organized its first Virtual Hiker Lobby Day, so that hikers from across the state could be an important part of the process, laying the groundwork for those in Olympia. Throughout the day we heard from activists as they posted on Facebook and Twitter after contacting their representatives. The response was great! Legislators were being educated from constituents around the state, as well as having face to face meetings where more personalized stories could be conveyed.
While it is too soon to know the full impact of Hiker Lobby Day, there are a few exciting highlights to share.
- You educated many legislators. We heard reports from activists all day that their representative was concerned about funding for public lands, but many didn't realize there was a proposed solution. Furthermore, elected officials were pleased to learn the level of support for the Discover Pass within the hiking community.
There has been an exciting development since last week. HB 1796 now has a hearing scheduled in the House Ways and Means committee today (Wednesday) at 3:30pm. This is an important step in getting this legislation passed.
- Finally, we wanted to give a special shout-out to Sam Thompsen - who hiked through the night to join us in Olympia from north Seattle. That's dedication!
Thank you to everyone who helped make this a great day!