BCHA Attends Hike the Hill in Washington, DC
Thursday, March 14, 2019
Posted by: Erica Fearn
Hike the Hill is intended to demonstrate the unity of the trails community before federal land management agencies and to carry a coordinated message to lawmakers on Capitol Hill. It occurs each year at a time when agencies, the Administration and Congress begin drafting budgets for the forthcoming fiscal year. The group is credited by agency leaders and congressional appropriations staff as a longstanding voice on Capitol Hill that consistently advocates for enhanced trails-related funding, and the continuation of critical land conservation and recreation-related programs such as the Land & Water Conservation Fund (LWCF), established by Congress in 1964.
This year, BCHA and the Partnership joined the chorus of outdoor recreation organizations from across the nation urging Congress to permanently authorize and fully fund the LWCF. Last year, Congress failed to act and allowed the LWCF to expire. As described in BCHA’s March 1 action alert to our members, Congress voted overwhelmingly to permanently reauthorize the LWCF.
BCHA’s Director for Public Lands & Recreation, Randy Rasmussen, participated in agency leadership meetings during Hike the Hill, including with the newly appointed Chief of the US Forest Service, Vicki Christiansen. During introductions, Chief Christiansen announced to the group, “I know about the great work done by BCHA volunteers” (she formerly served as the Washington State Forester). With a receptive audience, Randy’s task to emphasize the need for resources and continued agency support for implementation of the 2016 Trails Stewardship Act and its new 10-Year Sustainable Trails Stewardship Challenge was made easy.
Other vital connections made during Hike the Hill this year included invitations from staff of both House and Senate committees seeking BCHA’s input on forthcoming recreation-related bills. Specifically, they invited details on policies and facilities desired by horsemen that would promote and encourage recreational use of public lands while enhancing the economic benefits of outdoor recreation.