Advocacy is the art of informing policy makers (legislators, agency administrators) about issues and persuading them to act in your interests. Yes, lobbying is another word for it, except presumably as a non-profit you are advocating for the greater good rather than self-interest or profit. When NCTA does advocacy we work to educate policy-makers about the importance of what we do and its value to America and its citizens.
In these pages we’ll describe the main advocacy issues and initiatives NCTA is undertaking, how NCTA’s staff and Advocacy Committee are working to address them, and specific steps you as our loyal volunteers, trail users and members of the North Country Trail community can take to help. We’ve learned, and relearned over the years that even just a few members of our community contacting their elected official can make a huge difference. We invite you to be part of it!
The following legislative issues affect the North Country National Scenic Trail and the NCTA asks the NCT community to get involved.
1) The Arrowhead Re-route and Vermont Extension (a.k.a. The NCNST Route Adjustment)
The NCTA is seeking passage of legislation in Congress that would change the official route of the NCT in northeastern Minnesota and extend the NCT into Vermont to meet up with the Appalachian Trail. For more information, visit the Arrowhead Re-route page, or read the FAQ.
2) Re-authorization and full funding for the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF)
What is the LWCF? Created by Congress in 1965, the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) was a bipartisan commitment to safeguard natural areas, water resources and our cultural heritage, and to provide recreation opportunities to all Americans. National parks like Rocky Mountain, the Grand Canyon, and the Great Smoky Mountains, as well as national wildlife refuges, national forests, rivers and lakes, community parks, trails, and ball fields in every one of our 50 states were set aside for Americans to enjoy thanks to federal funds from the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF).
It was a simple idea: use revenues from the depletion of one natural resource – offshore oil and gas – to support the conservation of another precious resource – our land and water. Every year, $900 million in royalties paid by energy companies drilling for oil and gas on the Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) are put into this fund. The money is intended to create and protect national parks, areas around rivers and lakes, national forests, and national wildlife refuges from development, and to provide matching grants for state and local parks and recreation projects.
Yet, nearly every year, Congress breaks its own promise to the American people and diverts much of this funding to uses other than conserving our most important lands and waters. Source: http://www.lwcfcoalition.org/about-lwcf.html.
Why care? The LWCF authorizing legislation expires at the end of this September. It needs to be re-authorized by Congress. Full funding for the LWCF would benefit the National Park Service, other Federal agencies, States, and other local partners in providing funding to permanently protect a NCT corridor where it currently passes on privately-owned lands. Download the Our Land, Our Water, Our Heritage: America Depends on the Land and Water Conservation Fund report to learn more about the economic benefits of LWCF funding.