Trails Activists Hike in Olympia Today
Hello from Hiker Lobby Day 2012!
About 50 intrepid hikers have assembled in the conference room of St. John's Church for our Hiker Lobby Day orientation and training. After this, we will hike to the State Capitol for our scheduled meetings with elected officials and get down to the heart of the day -- face to face lobbying!
This is my fifth Hiker Lobby Day, and as I sit here surrounded by WTA members, volunteers and others who have taken the day off work to come advocate on behalf of trails, I feel deeply appreciative of their efforts. One year ago, these hiker lobbyists were instrumental is securing passage of the Washington State Discover Pass, without which many of our DNR recreation lands and State Parks would have locked their gates. Although the Discover Pass is not performing as well as expected and State Parks regrettably just passed pink slips to dozens of park rangers, the passage of this sustainable funding source was critical. Without it, we might have NO rangers on the state parks payroll. We might not have access to Deception Pass State Park, or Mount Si.
This year, hikers are here to make the Discover Pass a better program. Two companion bills -- SB 5977 and HB 2153 -- will add space for an additional vehicle license plate number to the Discover Pass. It is widely hoped that this improvement will result in higher sales of the pass, and therefore more revenue for these cash-strapped agencies.
UPDATE 11am: Hiker lobbyist Tim Van Beek tells us why he is at Hiker Lobby Day today.
UPDATE 1pm: Two hikers, both named Sarah, talk straight on why it is so important they're down in Olympia for trails today.