Hiking the Halls of Congress

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The new Congress, fresh off the campaign trail, had a chance to learn about a different kind of trail this past week: hiking trails! From February 8-12, 2015, advocates from all over the country came to DC to participate in Hike the Hill, a joint effort by American Hiking Society and the Partnership for the National Trails System.

The hiking community was exceedingly well represented by well-informed and enthusiastic hikers who were passionate about protecting the places we all love to hike. Education on the issues started before the hikers even arrived, with the offering of two webinars, then continued with a day of intensive briefings their first day in town.

Hike the Hill attendees being briefed about trails issues in Sunday workshop.

Hike the Hill attendees being briefed about trails issues in Sunday workshop.

On Monday, Hike the Hill participants spread out over Capitol Hill and educated members of Congress and their staff about legislation such as the Land and Water Conservation Fund, The National Forest System Trails Stewardship Act, National Scenic Trails Parity Act, and so much more.

Throughout the week the advocates also met with agency officials from the National Park Service, US Forest Service, and Bureau of Land Management, to discuss issues affecting hiking trails and address various concerns regarding public lands and recreation.

Hike the Hill attendees participate in a meeting with National Park Service officials.

Hike the Hill attendees participate in a meeting with National Park Service officials.

Our most heartfelt thanks to all who participated in Hike the Hill. Each one of you deserves the gratitude of all who lace up their boots and hit the trail this year and in the future. American Hiking Society also gives a huge, well-deserved round of applause to the Partnership for the National Trails System, it’s Executive Director, Gary Werner, and Outreach & Youth Programs Coordinator, Chelsea Bodamer. Their arrangement and coordination of agency meetings and putting so many pieces into place ensured the success of the entire event.