2023 Hike the Hill® Advocacy Event Success

Have you ever imagined being face to face with the Director of the National Park Service, Chief of the Forest Service, Director of the Bureau of Land Management, Members of Congress, and key congressional staff to share your love of hiking, trails, and the outdoors?

More than a hundred hiking advocates had that opportunity recently as they came together to collectively advocate for trails and the hiking community as part of the 26th Annual Hike the Hill®. This event, hosted by 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.

Through a jam-packed few weeks of virtual and in-person meetings, these advocates brought the hikers' voice to the key decision makers that shape all our access to trails, public lands, and the outdoors as a whole. Meeting at the highest level of government, these trail advocates showed the importance of partnerships between land managers and the trails community. Participants highlighted the need for equitable access through legislation like the Outdoors for All Act (introduced during Hike the Hill!) and the Transit to Trails Act, made the case for increased funding and staffing for trails across the country, and pushed to strengthen the National Trails System.

congresional building near the US Capitol

These leaders brought their unique experiences, stories, and demonstrated impact from every corner of the country to show the connective tissue of trails that run through communities and congressional districts across the country and the benefits they bring to all of us including economic, health and wellness, climate resiliency, and personal enjoyment.

Three people in business attire smile or a photo.
American Hiking's Senior Director of Programs and Advocacy, Tyler Ray, and Acting Executive Director, Heather Klein Olson, Stand with the Director of the National Park Service Charles Sams.

All throughout Hike the Hill®, these leaders had the opportunity to connect, learn, share, and even have a little fun. Hike the Hill® not only brings together hiking and trail advocates but the federal land management partners who keep our trails open and accessible and the broader recreation and conservation community who collectively advocate for and enjoy the benefits of the outdoors.

During the event, the whole community had an opportunity to come together at the local REI store for a Trails Celebration, where we heard from American Hiking Society Board Member Tiffany Williams on why she is part of American Hiking. AHS NextGen Trail Leader Tamika also joined in the celebration. The Director of the Bureau of Land Management, leadership within the National Park Service, and the U.S. Forest Service also celebrated the strong partnerships and shared goals of the trails community and these agencies.

AHS Board Member and Daughter and Florida Trail NextGen Participant
AHS Board Member, Tiffany Williams, and her Daughter with Adrian Wilson at the Hike the Hill Trail Celebration.

Hike the Hill® is the unofficial kick-off of a year of advocacy for the hiking community as we work towards increased and/or consistent funding for trails, the advancement and passage of the Outdoors for All Act, the Continental Divide Trail Completion Act, the Transit to Trails Act and other key pieces of legislation. We’ll also continue our strong collaboration with federal agency partners to ensure that the hiking community is included in key decisions around public lands and conservation, including the implementation of the Great American Outdoors Act, the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, and the Inflation Reduction Act. Together the hiking community can make a lasting impact to preserve and expand the hiking experience for all.

The hiking community needs your support to get this done! Take action now to send your Member of Congress a message and make a gift to support these efforts.

A group of people in business attire sit in two rows in a congressional committee room.