Trail Leaders Unite in the Nation’s Capital for Hike the Hill Advocacy Week
Trail leaders from across the country will unite in Washington D.C. February 12–17 during the 26th annual Hike the Hill® advocacy event. 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.
For the first time since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, a dynamic coalition of trail organizations and trail enthusiasts, representing the National Trails System and beyond, will convene for in-person group meetings to advocate for legislation, learn about new policies, and meet with federal partners, elected officials and their staff, and fellow trail organizations. After receiving training and resources on running effective congressional meetings, Hike the Hill® participants will advocate for trails and public land with key leaders on Capitol Hill.
“The National Trails System relies on public-private partnerships to thrive, with nonprofit trail organizations raising and investing nearly $44 million in National Historic & Scenic Trails last year,” says PNTS Executive Director Valerie Rupp. “Hike the Hill brings together dedicated trail leaders and enthusiasts from around the U.S. to work through critical policy matters with their agency partners, and to advocate for collective priorities in Congress.”
Top advocacy priorities for 2023 include robust funding for trails in FY24 Appropriations, Transit to Trails Act, Continental Divide Trail Completion Act, Outdoors for All Act, National Scenic Trails Parity Act, Grand Canyon Protection Act, and support for new National Historic Trail designations.
“Each year, the nationwide trails community comes together to collectively advocate for and promote the cherished trail and natural resource network that crisscrosses the U.S.,” explains American Hiking Society’s Tyler Ray, Senior Director of Programs and Advocacy. “This incredible trail network isn’t complete, and not everyone has equitable access to trails, so Hike the Hill® will continue to converge in Washington D.C. to speak on behalf of the tens of millions of individuals who benefit from the more than 250,000 miles of trails.”