NWSA Visits Capitol Hill

In February, members of NWSA’s staff and board traveled to Washington, DC to participate in Hike the Hill®. NWSA uses this time each year to connect with our federal partners and elected officials, support and promote initiatives that improve public lands management and bring funding to wilderness and public lands stewardship, and collaborate with partners in the trail stewardship community. A highlight this year was the opportunity to present the impressive accomplishments of our wilderness and trails stewardship community to Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management (BLM) leadership. We were also excited to join our partners from the Continental Divide Trail Coalition on visits with staff for Colorado Senators Bennet and Hickenlooper.

US Capitol Building

Year over year, these efforts have proved vital to keeping both nonprofit partners and federal land management agencies funded to complete much needed public lands stewardship work. While trails and public lands still don’t receive near the amount of funding needed to fulfill staffing, conservation, or maintenance mandates, we are happy to report that this collective effort helped to lessen the severe cuts expected for trails and recreation-related budget items, especially as overall land management funding faces steep cuts.  

"The National Wilderness Stewardship Alliance extends much appreciation to House and Senate Appropriators for recognizing the importance of funding our nation's trails amidst a challenging funding environment that saw cuts across land management agencies," said Joelle Marier, Executive Director of National Wilderness Stewardship Alliance. "This funding supports crucial programs that put boots on the ground and engage thousands of volunteers in trail stewardship, keeping trails accessible and safe for all to enjoy.”

Hike the Hill® is a joint effort between American Hiking Society and Partnership for the National Trails System to bring together the trails community to advance shared trail priorities with congressional and federal agency leaders including: trails funding, public lands management and conservation, equitable access, and other top priority issues that sustain trails and improve access to public lands.