Our Stories

Hike the Hill 2024

Categories: Advocacy


by Andrea Ketchmark, NCTA Executive Director

A group of North Country Trail Association staff and volunteers headed to Washington DC in February, to meet with members of Congress and federal agency leadership to ensure the North Country National Scenic Trail is recognized when these leaders are making important decisions.

Hosted by the American Hiking Society and the Partnership for the National Trails System, Hike the Hill brings together the entire National Trails community in a week of advocacy and partnership activity in our nation’s capital.

On this trip, NCTA advocates visited 16 members of the House of Representatives and five Senators, and scheduled more meetings via Zoom for the coming weeks. In addition, we met with the leadership of the House and Senate Natural Resources Committee, and have meetings with the Appropriations Committee planned for March.

Having achieved unit status at the end of 2023, we spent a lot of time giving thanks to those who supported it. We also advocated for an budget increase for both the National Park Service (NPS) and U.S. Forest Service (USFS) to manage the NCNST, along with a few key pieces of legislation that will help support access to public lands and funding for important projects.

On the agency side, we also met with the Chief of the USFS, the Director of the NPS, as well as the Assistant Director for Partnerships and Civic Engagement, the Interagency National Trails System Council, and even the Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Interior.

Our advocacy for the trail is a year-round task, but Hike the Hill is the high point. There is no better way to show Congress and our federal agencies our strength than to meet them in DC to share our stories of how the trail impacts lives across the region.