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Signature Projects 2011

WTA's Signature Trail Work Projects for 2011: Guemes Mountain, Evans Creek Preserve, Cape Horn, Chelan Lakeshore Trail, Colonel Bob Trail, Colville National Forest trails, Pacific Crest Trail, Welcome Pass - High Divide, Quartz Creek, and Grand Ridge Park.

Introducing Washington Trails Association's Signature Trail Work Projects for 2011!

Every year, WTA volunteers maintain and improve dozens of hiking trails throughout Washington (in fact, 148 in 2010 alone!). Some trails we're out for a day of light maintenance; others are major projects where we return again and again. Last year was the first time we highlighted a set of Signature Projects that received special love from our volunteers. You can read about those accomplishments here.

This year we're back with ten more Signature Projects. They highlight the range of the work WTA does each year: different kinds of volunteer experiences; youth and adult trips; and locations from the Olympic Peninsula to the far northeast corner of Washington. We invite you to learn more about this work, and to follow its progress as we go through the year. We will be highlighting one project each month, starting in April.

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Guemes Mountain

Guemes Mtn volunteers horiz
WTA Volunteers head to the summit of Guemes Mountain for lunch. Photo by Michael Torok.

Location: Guemes Mountain Conservation Area - San Juan Islands
Dates of Work: March and May
Types of Trip: Weekend day trips

Last fall, WTA began building this new trail to an incredible viewpoint on Guemes Mountain, and we hope to finish it this year. The project - a collaboration between the San Juan Preservation Trust, the Skagit Land Trust and WTA - has great local involvement and lots of mainland volunteers too. It's just a short ferry hop to Guemes Island, and the trail will be a great place for a relaxing day trip.

>> Learn more about WTA's role with this project.
>> WTA Trail Work Schedule.
>> Hike it! Learn more in WTA's Hiking Guide.

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Evans Creek Preserve

Evans Creek mud
It's muddy work at Evans Creek Preserve.

Location: City of Sammamish
Dates of Work: March and April
Types of Trip: Adult and youth day trips

If you love to stomp around in the mud and get dirty, this is the project for you! This new trail project on an old farmstead in the City of Sammamish is designed to protect this bird paradise and to provide people with new recreation opportunities. WTA has laid out a trail system that will include a one-third mile gravel loop and a longer loop of over a mile. The City is working on an ADA-accessible boardwalk. Trails will run through and skirt a variety of habitats, including wetlands, meadows and forest. Anticipate these new trails opening in September.

>> Learn more about WTA's role with this project.
>> Sign me up! WTA Trail Work Schedule

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Cape Horn

Cape Horn trail work
This Cape Horn crew is working on the backslope of the trail on a beautiful spring day. Photo by Ryan Ojerio.

Location: Columbia Gorge National Scenic Area
Dates of Work: March - July
Types of Trip: Day trips

The Forest Service only made the Cape Horn trail official in 2010, but it is quickly becoming a favorite. With spectacular view points, beautiful fall colors, spring flowers and a waterfall too, its easy to see why the 7 mile loop is such a hit with hikers. Over the past year, WTA has been able to complete much needed trail maintenance and a short reroute to protect sensitive habitat. This spring, WTA volunteers will continue to work on a bridge project. And come summer, WTA volunteers will continue to reroute parts of the trail that are prone to erosion. Can't volunteer? You can help us raise matching funds to support this project.

>> Learn more about WTA's role with this project.
>> Sign me up! WTA Trail Work Schedule
>> Hike it! Learn more in WTA's Hiking Guide

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Chelan Lakeshore Trail

Carbon River trail crew
WTA has led 29 Volunteer Vacations on the Chelan Lakeshore Trail since 2000, including three in 2011.

Location: Lake Chelan
Dates of Work: April and May
Types of Trip: Three Volunteer Vacations

If there is one trail that WTA has "adopted" over the years, it's the Chelan Lakeshore Trail. We've been out there for 29 weeks - more than 200 days - over the past 11 years. In 2011, three weeks of volunteers crews are heading out to this beautiful locale. They are logging out burned and windblown trees, fixing drainages, brushing and doing treadwork on this fun spring backpack, as well as fixing up side trails to Fish and Prince Creeks.

>> Hike it! Learn more in WTA's Hiking Guide

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Colonel Bob Trail

Colonel Bob Peak
Amazing views await hikers who hike to the top of Colonel Bob Peak. Photo by Nutmeg.

Location: Colonel Bob Wilderness, Olympic National Forest
Dates of Work: June and July
Types of Trip: Three BCRTs

Cross-cut saw enthusiasts unite! Fierce winds that blow through the icy overstory of trees have felled a great many giants across the trail. It's all hands on deck to log out the Colonel Bob Trail this summer - the less traveled approach to the top of Colonel Bob Peak (the other approach is via Pete's Creek). Three WTA trips are all full of volunteers who love to saw. Other trail partners will also be out in force, but we will be the first to attack the work from the Colonel Bob trailhead.

>> Read more about WTA's role in this project
>> WTA Trail Work Schedule

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Colville National Forest Trails

Shedroof Divide
This is Eastern Washington? Views like this into Idaho are a dime a dozen on the Shedroof Divide Trail in the Colville National Forest. Photo by Leif Jakobsen.

Location: Colville National Forest
Dates of Work: June and July
Types of Trip: One Volunteer Vacations and a BCRT

The Colville National Forest just may be the best kept secret in Washington. North and west of Spokane, it's a place where you can find great day hikes and long, fabulous backpacking trips with sweeping views and big sky. WTA will be working in two areas this summer. In June, WTA will be breaking ground with a new multi-use trail to the top of Gibraltar Mountain. Other crews will finish the work to WTA specifications. We'll also be back on the Salmo-Priest Loop in the Salmo-Priest Wilderness in July, with a Volunteer Vacation on the eastern part of the loop and a BCRT along the Shedroof Divide and near Snowy Top to the west.

>> Sign me up! WTA Trail Work Schedule
>> Hike it! Learn more in WTA's Hiking Guide

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Pacific Crest Trail

PCT Youth
Youth volunteers pose on the Pacific Crest Trail. WTA is fielding more than 70 days of work on the PCT in 2011, including six Youth Vacations. Photo by Steve Hertzfeld.

Location: Snoqualmie Pass and north
Dates of Work: July - September
Types of Trip: Two Volunteer Vacations, six Youth Vacations, two BCRTs and several day trips

WTA will be on the PCT in force this summer, led by six Youth Vacations. Crews will be doing a variety of maintenance in eleven different locations, from day trips south and north of Snoqualmie Pass to a BCRT log-out between Hearts and Rainy Passes. In between, Adult and Youth Volunteer Vacations will be repairing tread and brushing in several places between Snoqualmie and Stevens Passes (Lemah Meadows, Cliff Tree Basin, Deep Lake), and north of Stevens (Cady Pass, Meader Meadow, Pear Lake).

>> Learn more about WTA's work on the Pacific Crest Trail
>> Hike it! Learn more in WTA's Hiking Guide

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Glacier Basin

Excelsior Ridge sunrise
WTA volunteers cut the ribbon on July 31, 2011 - the 151st and final day of work on the Glacier Basin Trail. Photo by Lynn Kittridge.

Location: Mount Rainier National Park
Dates of Work: July
Types of Trip: several one-day trips

In 2006, a massive flood wiped out this popular hiking trail at Mount Rainier. The Park Service made the decision to reroute it away from the river and turned to volunteers to help. Since 2008, WTA has fielded 121 one-day work parties and six Volunteer Vacations, relying on the work of more than 400 volunteers to help complete this trail. In 2011, the work will be completed and hikers will once again have access to this beautiful place. Take a hike there and admire their handiwork!

>> Learn more about WTA's role in this project
>> Hike it! Learn more in WTA's Hiking Guide

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Quartz Creek Trail

Quartz Creek doug fir susan saul.jpg Quartz Creek
Volunteers log out the Quartz Creek trail. Photo by Ryan Ojerio.

Location: Dark Divide Roadless Area, Gifford Pinchot N.F.
Dates of Work: August and September
Types of Trip: Two BCRTs and a weekend work party

The Quartz Creek drainage was spared during the eruption of Mount St. Helens in 1980, leaving it a cool and lush old growth corridor that is pocketed with waterfalls and certain solitude. This is the entry-way for the Dark Divide Roadless Area, and it may someday again become a candidate for wilderness. After years of neglect, two BCRT crews and a weekend work party tackled poor tread, downed trees and brush overgrowing the the first five miles of trail.

>> Learn more about WTA's role in this project
>> Hike it! Learn more in WTA's Hiking Guide

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Grand Ridge Park

Grand Ridge boardwalk
A WTA trail crew finishes some boardwalk decking on the Grand Ridge trail. Photo by Mike Hardy.

Location: King County
Dates of Work: Fall
Types of Trip: day trips

WTA will be back at Grand Ridge Park this fall to complete the 600-foot boardwalk that we began in 2010. This is a hand-built boardwalk from all native materials that will allow hikers, bicyclists and horseback riders to travel easily between Duthie Hill Park in the north to I-90 in the south. WTA has been working on the trail system at Grand Ridge Park for more than ten years now. If you go hiking here, look for signs announcing The WTA Bridge.

>> Sign me up! WTA Trail Work Schedule
>> Hike it! Learn more in WTA's Hiking Guide

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