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Common Questions

Common questions about WTA's trail work parties

About Trail Work Parties

Lemei Lake Volunteers
Volunteers along the Lemei Lake trail in Southwest Washington show off their meadow-protecting new boardwalk.

Q.  How much experience do I need?
A. None. We work hard to teach our volunteers the joy of trail maintenance. We hope by investing our time in teaching you trail maintenance you'll come back and join us again. Our work party rules are followed in this order:
1) Be Safe!
2) Have fun!

3) Get some work done!

Q. What should I wear? What should I bring?
A. All volunteers should wear a sturdy pair of boots (no tennis shoes!), long pants and work gloves. It's recommended that you wear a long-sleeve shirt too. In addition, bring rain gear, water and your lunch and snacks. WTA will provide you with hardhats and the tools you need.

Q.  May I leave early? Arrive late?

A. Sorry, please come to a work party only if you can commit to a full day of volunteering (8:30am-3:30pm). If you can't spend the day with us, then please sign up for another work party.

Q.  What is the latest date that I can sign up for a work party?
A. 48 hours. You may have noticed that each work party is automatically removed from the schedule 48 hours before the work party is scheduled to begin. This formula allows our crew leaders to have adequate time to pick up tools, purchase pop & cookies and assess the work site based on the number of sign-ups at that time. If you would like to sign up for a work party within this 48 hours, please call the office at (206) 625-1367 and we will determine if we can add another person to that particular work party.

Q. Are there any perks (incentives) for volunteering?
A. Of course!
  • On US Forest Service lands projects: Volunteers earn a NW Forest Day Pass for 1 day of volunteering and for 2 days they receive an Annual NW Forest Pass. See the below Q&A for more info.
  • On State Land projects (i.e. State Parks and DNR lands): Volunteers can earn an annual Discover Pass after completing 24 hours of service (typically 4 days) on qualifying projects. See the below Q&A for more info.
  • 5th work party: Get your own personalized WTA hard hat
  • 25th work party: Fleece vest embroidered with WTA logo & "Trail Crew"
  • 50th work party: Hand saw with your name engraved in handle
  • Every work party: expect free soda, cookies and the chance to acquire new skills and new friends!

Q.  Annual Northwest Forest Pass incentive: I have earned two (green) one-day passes - How do I exchange them for an annual pass?
A.
Easy! When you come out on a WTA work party that is on Forest Service land (indicated in the schedule under the column titled “Free Pass”), the Forest Service recognizes your efforts by giving you a free one-day recreation pass. A WTA crew leader will give you this pass at the beginning of the work party. When you collect two of these green day passes, you can mail them in to the WTA office, and we will mail you one Annual Northwest Forest Pass. Please send your two green day passes and a self-addressed stamped envelope to: Washington Trails Association, 705 2nd Ave, Suite 300, Seattle, WA 98104. Each volunteer can receive a maximum of one annual pass per year.

Q.  Annual Discovery Pass incentive: I have received vouchers for 24 hours worked on state lands - How do I exchange them for an annual pass?
A.
To learn how you can exchange your vouchers for an annual pass (as well as exclusions), visit the Discover Pass website at http://discoverpass.wa.gov/. The intent of the program is for volunteers to receive a maximum of one pass per year.

Q.  Does WTA encourage or try to arrange carpooling?
A. Yes! We have an automated carpool system set up on-line. When you join a work party you will be encouraged to carpool. Simply choose one of these options: Willing to drive; Needs a ride; Willing to drive or ride. Then give a brief description of your ideal meeting point in the space provided (not in the comments section). This information will be sent to all people who sign up for your trip, along with your e-mail address (we do not send out your phone number - so please provide a valid e-mail). You will then be able to contact or be contacted by others interested in carpooling. Remember, if you are a rider, please be courteous and offer to chip in on the cost of gas!

Q.  Can I bring my kids on a day work party?
A. Yes! Anyone under the age of 18 must be signed in by their parent or guardian. Please download our parental consent form. Anyone under the age of 14 must be accompanied by an adult. If you'd like to learn more about WTA's youth programs, go here.

Q.  Can I bring my pets?
A. Sorry, please do not bring any pets. We have found that pets can be a significant distraction and in some rare cases a safety hazard.

Q.  Can I bring a big group?
A. Yes! But if your group is larger than six people, please contact us to make special arrangements. Call the WTA office at (206) 625-1367 or email us at trail_teams@wta.org. For some general guidelines for setting up a group work party, go here.

Q.  Do you still work in bad weather?
A. Yes - Rain or Shine! Unless you are notified otherwise, our crew leaders will be waiting for you at the trailhead. If the bad weather continues throughout the day, we may go home early.

Q.  Do you accept court-ordered community service?

A. Usually. But you must take the initiative to tell us in advance of your first work party so that we can help you appropriately track and confirm your hours for the court. We do not accept court-ordered hours for violent or aggressive offenses.  When you sign up for your first work party, indicate that you are fulfilling court-ordered hours and give the total amount of hours you wish to complete. The maximum amount of hours you can claim for any given day is 8 hours.

Q.  Should I bring my own tools?
A. No. WTA provides all the tools you need. The only tools of your own that you might consider bringing would be hand clippers or small folding saws. Please do NOT bring your own axes, machetes, etc. Our safety lecture includes a comprehensive discussion of the safe usage of each tool. We can not permit anyone to bring and use a tool not covered in our safety lecture.

Q.  Can I bring my chainsaw?
A.
No. A special certification is required from land management agencies before anyone is allowed to use a chainsaw on their land. Any logging out of blowdown and felling of trees will be taken care of by WTA staff or the land manager's hired personnel.

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