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5 Ways WTA Supports the Future of Trails

Posted by Jessi Loerch at Nov 17, 2021 03:57 PM |

WTA is looking to the future for anyone who likes to use trails. Here's what we're working on — and how you can help.

By Rebecca Viets

It’s hard to believe that 2021 is coming to a close. WTA made great strides this year in our vision of trails for everyone, forever. Strides that simply would not be possible without all of our great volunteers, members, trip reporters, Hike-a-Thoners and trail advocates. Below are five of our favorite ways (it was hard to pick just five!) that demonstrate how WTA supports the future of trails so that more people can enjoy the wonders of the outdoors this year and every year. You, too, can power the future of trails by making a gift to WTA on #GivingTuesday, Nov. 30 or you can make your gift now.

1. Expanding frontcountry trail access

Silver Star mountain is the epitome of a hiker’s dream in southwest Washington, with one caveat: the road to the trailhead needs some major work. As part of the Trails Rebooted campaign, an effort to expand and improve frontcountry trails, WTA is working with a coalition of partners to carry out the Silver Star Vision Plan Project. This plan aims to improve trail access, protect the natural landscape and balance the interests of all who recreate at Silver Star. You can see more of WTA’s Trails Rebooted work in SW Washington on the Lyle Cherry Orchard and Cape Horn trails. 

A hiker walking along a trail through a meadow with white wildflowers, a hill in the background a wispy white clouds.
Silver Star is one of many areas around the state where WTA is working to expand access to trails as part of our Trails Rebooted campaign. Photo by Cheryl Hill. 

2. Reducing barriers to the outdoors with a new gear library

With a vision of Trails for Everyone, WTA opened a second gear library in south Puget Sound earlier this year. Our gear lending libraries are open to community and youth leaders who have participated in one of our Outdoor Leadership Training workshops. These workshops are hands-on trainings that equip leaders with the skills to take their groups into nature. The opening of the second gear library will allow more groups to access the gear needed for safe and fun outdoor adventures. 

WTA is thankful to partner with other incredible organizations who are working to make the outdoors more accessible and welcoming for all. We hope you will take the time to learn more about the powerful work of some of our partners, like Latino Outdoors, Outdoor Afro, GirlTrek, Outdoor Asian and Young Women Empowered. 

A WTA staff member uses a large, black Sharpie to write WTA on a new, red backpack.
WTA's second gear library is making it possible to support more groups who want to get outside with youth and families. Photo by Lily Poppen.

3. Providing the resources you need to enjoy nature safely

 WTA’s Hiking Guide and Hike Finder Map are the ultimate resource for planning your next hiking adventure. Trip reports and Trail Smarts will help you prepare for whatever your hike throws at you. So whether it’s swarming mosquitoes or knee high mud, you’ll be ready — or at least ready to choose a different hike if you need to.

4. Building new trails close to home

WTA believes that nature should always be within reach, the foundation of our Trail Next Door campaign. We’re excited to be partnering with King County Parks to help build a new trail in Glendale Forest, located in the unincorporated North Highline neighborhood. This park will provide local residents with a much needed greenspace within walking distance of their homes. 

Interested in helping build or maintain a trail close to your own home? Check out our current work parties to get involved. No experience needed!

5. Keeping backcountry trails on the map

This past summer, WTA piloted our first paid trail crew to tackle some of the overgrown and damaged trails in the backcountry. The new pro crew completed 4,243 hours of backcountry trail work, removing hundreds of logs in the Entiat River Valley, Pasayten and Pacific Crest Trail. Hardhats off to this incredible crew and their hard work to keep Lost Trails Found

Whether it’s close to home or deep in the backcountry, WTA is committed to making a sustainable trail system that is accessible for all. You can help WTA support the future of trails by making an early gift to WTA’s  #GivingTuesday campaign. And, we’d love to hear your favorite moment from the trail this year. Drop a comment below to share!