A Week of Public Lands Advocacy in D.C.

Several times a year we head to Washington D.C. to advocate for public lands on behalf of our community. Learn about the issues we focused on, the organizations we partnered with, and the stories we shared.
The Mountaineers The Mountaineers
September 23, 2019

To further The Mountaineers core value and strategic priority of advocacy, we occasionally head to the other Washington to advocate for public lands on behalf of our community. This past week in D.C. proved to be a productive and inspiring few days with colleagues from the outdoor recreation and climbing community! Read on to get the highlights from this whirlwind week. 

A Joint Day of Advocacy

With Mountaineers Advisory Council member Thomas O'Keefe, we had a busy day of joint advocacy with  American Whitewater and Outdoor Alliance. Our agenda included: 

We found a receptive audience from both sides of the aisle and are making incremental progress on all these issues.

climb the hill 2019

Up next was Climb the Hill, with an amazing group of public lands advocates. This event is designed to educate our  Congressional representatives, policymakers, and top land management administrators on the importance of public lands and outdoor recreation. Hosted by our partners Access Fund and American Alpine Club, this year's event focused on bringing these issues  to life with stories of our outdoor experiences and incorporating equity and inclusion into our work.

Teams representing different geographical areas of the country met with lawmakers and land management agencies for over 60 meetings in one day. Issues we highlighted with Washington and Oregon congressional offices included:

  • Increasing recreational access to public lands, through bipartisan bills like the SOAR Act and Recreation Not Red Tape.
  • Lack of funding for public lands. We advocated for the bipartisan Protect Our Parks and Public Lands Act, and funding for the LWCF.
  • Protecting America’s landscapes through conservation designations, like with the Wild Olympics Act
  • Climate change's impact on the landscapes we hold so dear. One of our team members from Seattle Bouldering Project shared how their company  made the decision to close down so staff could attend the climate strike on Sep 20.
  • Amplifying the voices of our diverse climbing community. Together, we raised awareness on Capitol Hill on the unique challenges experienced by people of color, indigenous communities, LGBTQ+ folks, and people with disabilities in accessing and enjoying our public lands.

Bringing Outdoor Stories to Life

A highlight of the trip was our meeting with Washington's Senator Cantwell, who recently co-sponsored the Arctic Refuge Protection Act. Professional climber Tommy Caldwell shared the impact his trip to the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge this summer had on him, as well as a few pictures. Check out the Senator's jaw drop as he shares a photo of an inquisitive wolf from his trip!

If you’d like to know more about this incredible area, take a look at Arctic National Wildlife Refuge: Seasons of Life and Land, published by our conservation imprint Braided River. Its photos and stories of the region's delicate ecosystem were integral to the creation of the Refuge. 

The Senator also shared how climbers speaking out in support of LWCF last year really made a difference as the public lands package came together.

We were honored to represent our 14,000 members, and to help elevate the voices of the Pacific Northwest outdoor community in D.C. and as part of Climb the Hill. These trips are integral to our mission and the places we play!