Hike the Hill 2021: Kickoff
Week One of Hike the Hill is in the books!
by Andrea Ketchmark
Every year, the North Country Trail Association joins hundreds of other trail advocates in Washington DC to advocate for trails, public lands and recreation. Although we weren’t able to travel to DC this year, our virtual Hike the Hill is in full swing with issues briefings, meetings with federal agency partners and members of Congress.
Week One included briefings on the issues that impact us most: The Great American Outdoors Act implementation and how our trails can tap into the funds that have been authorized for land acquisition and maintenance projects. The importance of appropriations requests for trails, like how much is needed to support our National Trails System and how we can build our case for support. And why we need the National Park Service to officially make the North Country Trail a Unit of the National Park System. Learn more about the issues that impact the North Country Trail on our Advocacy page.
We are also doing outreach to our members of Congress (28 members of the House of Representatives and 16 Senators). The members of our Advocacy Committee are working with key members of Congress to get the reintroduction of the Parity Act, as well as support funding for the North Country Trail through the appropriations process.
You can help! We’ll put out several calls to action over the next few weeks. This week, we’re asking that you call your Senators to ask the following:
- Ask your Senators to ensure that the North Country Trail and the and New England Trail are included in any senate version of HR803. An amendment was added (by Rep. Pocan and Rep. Grothman of Wisconsin) to the Protecting America’s Wilderness Act to bring unit status to the Ice Age Trail, but leaving out the other two. We need our Senators to ensure this gets corrected in the Senate.
- Ask your Senators to contact Senator Baldwin to sign on to the Parity Act as she prepares to reintroduce it in the coming weeks. This new bill should have the exact language of the last so you can point them to congress.gov for more information and to see the list of cosigners for the last bill. They can contact Nicholas Graham to sign on or with questions: Nicholas_Graham@baldwin.senate.gov.
Next week, we’ll be meeting with the leadership of the National Park Service and the Chief of the Forest Service to advocate for policies that support our partnerships and sound trail management. The Biden Administration’s “30 by 30” initiative puts America on the path of protecting 30% of its land and 30% of its ocean areas by 2030. With the recent passing of the Great American Outdoors Act, the agencies are positioned to fully recognize the potential of the National Trails System with the full funding of the Land and Water Conservation Fund, which can be used to close the gaps and complete the system.