WTA Joins With Outdoor Alliance for Kids, Calls for Shutdown to End
WTA is calling for the government shutdown to end, as widespread impacts continue around the country and on public lands.
Last week, our friends at Outdoor Alliance for Kids (OAK) put out a statement calling for an end to the current government shutdown, the longest in the nation's history. We here at WTA couldn't agree more.
About 800,000 federal workers aren't being paid — they missed their first paycheck last week. Native American tribes have not been paid millions of dollars for federally funded basic services. Major federal agencies affected by the shutdown include the Departments of Agriculture, Commerce, Homeland Security, Housing and Urban Development, the Interior, Justice, State, Transportation, and the Treasury and the Environmental Protection Agency.
The impacts are growing by the day. It's time for the government to get back to work.
Public Lands in Jeopardy
Trash and human waste are piling up, and access is limited to some of our most beloved national parks and forest. In some cases, the situation is more dire. In Joshua Tree National Park, campgrounds were trashed, leading to their shutdown. Visitors created illegal roads, driving into some of the park’s most fragile areas. They chopped the park's iconic namesake trees and set illegal fires.
Impacts on the WTA community
WTA is also feeling the impacts. Some of our supporting partner organizations are looking for new outing locations for their trips. And our planning for trail work is in limbo. Our partners in the federal government and in community groups need this shutdown to end.
- WTA’s volunteer vacations in Olympic and Mount Rainier national parks are in limbo, as are trail projects and trips in the Chelan, Okanogan-Wenatchee and Mount Baker forest service districts.
- WTA's first Outdoor Leadership Training (OLT) snowshoe trip this year had to be moved from Mount Rainier to another location. WTA also can't apply for Olympic National Park permit for a summer OLT backpacking training.
- Our OLT community group leaders have called, needing advice for alternate snowshoe trip locations, since Mount Rainier and other federal lands normally used have been closed. Groups have asked about access to trailhead amenities like bathrooms. Since most facilities are indeed closed, many youth group outings have had to scramble to switch locations.
The impact of the government shutdown is devastating to those who are affected and to our public lands. During this time, however, we are still encouraged by stories of hope. Trip reporters are picking up trash and calling out good behavior to encourage everyone to be extra careful on public lands during the shutdown. Volunteers are continuing to work on trails where they can. And everyone at WTA is continuing with our mission to ensure hikers can help build the future they want to see for trails.
Thank you to everyone who has made a difference during the shutdown, those continuing to do their jobs without pay, and those volunteers helping fill in the gaps. Keep up the good work.