Association Takes Part in Trails Advocacy Week
Every year, the Partnership for the National Trails System, which the association is a member of, takes part in Trails Advocacy Week in Washington, DC. This year the event took place from February 13 – 16, 2012.
Trails Advocacy Week brings together non-profit trail associations from across the country to ask Congress to support the National Trails System. There are over thirty non-profit trail associations, as well as other groups like the American Hiking Society that take part in the event. Each year the association visits every member of the House of Representatives from Texas and Louisiana whose district crosses the trail, as well as the senators from both states. Most recently, this allowed us to visit with a total of eighteen members of Congress.
Generally, we discuss several things with the Congressional Representatives including: 1) what is a National Historic Trail, 2) what is the Camino Real, 3) the need for further research and study of the trail, 4) the need for protection of its resources, 5) trail developments that are taking place in their districts, and 6) the desire of communities within their districts to reap economic benefits from tourism generated by the trail. Even in these tough economic times, the response we get is generally supportive and people are always surprised to know the trail actually exists after all of this time.
In the end, Trails Advocacy Week enables us to remind Congressional Representatives that National Trails, such as El Camino Real de los Tejas, have been deemed as nationally significant and important to the American people. We ask Congress to adequately supply the agencies that support our trails with the resources necessary to protect and preserve these irreplaceable treasures, because they are uniquely American and make our country special. With our combined voice, we are effective in doing so.
Board member, Gary Dunnam, takes part in Trails Advocacy Week 2012 in Washington, DC.