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Full Crews, Clear Trails, Can't Lose

Posted by Anna Roth at Apr 06, 2023 03:25 PM |

Are you ready for spring? Washington's trails are, thanks to the volunteer crews who've been working all winter to prep them for hikers this season.

Are you ready for spring? Washington's trails are, thanks to the volunteer crews who've been working all winter to prep them for hikers this season.

Food for Thought

In March, we wrapped up a months-long project at Beacon Rock State Park. The trails at the park were on a fast-eroding slope, and they needed a sturdy structure. Luckily, a hearty breakfast provided materials and inspiration. 

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How it started (left); how it's going (right). Photos courtesy WTA southwest Washington staff

Once the design was finalized, 25 volunteers spent three days cutting and peeling the logs, then used grip hoists, gas-powered augers, chisels, and lots and lots of rebar to make it happen.

WTA loves a project you can really sink your teeth into.

New Next Door Trails

All winter we've been adding to and enhancing trails around Puget Sound. Last week marked the ribbon-cutting of the new Greenbrier Trail in Woodinville, a 2-mile route through a sweet little greenspace near Seattle.

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Happy hikers (and volunteers) at Greenbrier's ribbon cutting. Photo by Kindra Ramos.

In Olympia, we addressed Trillium Park's erosion issues by building a staircase. At Dash Point State Park, we decommissioned 1,000 feet of dangerous trail, re-set several culverts and cleared more than two miles of existing trail, including dealing with a a landslide. (It did not bring us down.)

WTA volunteers also built new trails and rerouted trails at Port Gamble Forest. We built a new loop trail at North Kitsap Heritage Park. We completed multiple turnpikes — raised sections of trail — at Banner Forest (hikers noticed) and refreshed the entire trail system at Guillemot Cove.

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A smiling volunteer preps a log for removal at Guillemot Cove. Photo by AaronC.

Up in Anacortes at Sharpe Park, volunteers are just about finished replacing an unsafe section of trail on the Broom Tomb loop. It took so many work parties and two volunteer crew leaders to improve the safety of this trail before spring comes. Thank you.

And there's more work to come. WTA staff are designing a new wheelchair-friendly trail at Centralia's Seminary Hill, as well as a reroute at Behren’s Woods, a small neighborhood park in Vancouver in conjunction with the city’s new Naturespace program.

    Teaching trail skills

    WTA's Emerging Leaders program is getting a ton of on-trail experience this spring. The five-person crew (along with volunteer crews) built 500 feet of new trail at McKinley Park in Tacoma, opening up a northern trailhead and improving local access.

    They also fixed up some damage at Wallace Falls, one of Washington's favorite hiking areas. Downed trees had blocked a boardwalk and taken out a fence; the crew fixed both.

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    WTA's Emerging Leaders Program participants did a ton of work at Wallace Falls this winter, clearing trails and learning trail skills. Photo courtesy Angelic Friday.

    Down in Vancouver, WTA is piloting a new partnership with the Washington State University Vancouver campus’s Outdoor Recreation program. WTA staff are leading three half-day work parties where students can steward the trails on their own campus. On the first work party, students were introduced to trail work and helped spread wood chips, enhance drainage, clean a bridge, and come up with a plan and materials list to replace a section of broken boardwalk.

    For the second work party, students returned with the materials they’d requested to repair the boardwalk. Our last work party in April will introduce more complex treadwork. It’s been a great partnership so far and we’ve loved working with the students from the Outdoor Rec program. 

    Our work continues! Want to join us? Sign up for a work party — we have a lot coming up.

    Want to enjoy all this trail work? Get out there, then share your experience by writing a trip report when you get back.