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Trails Rebooted Hits the Ground Running

Posted by Allie Tripp at Jun 11, 2019 01:17 PM |

While WTA’s Trails Rebooted campaign officially launched last month, we’ve been hard at work since early 2019. And we’re excited to share some of our early successes with you!

While WTA’s Trails Rebooted campaign officially launched last month, we’ve been hard at work since early 2019. And we’re excited to share some of our early successes with you!

A stronger foundation for a well-travelled trail

There’s no doubt that Oyster Dome is an “iconic" trail. The sweeping views of Puget Sound and islands, combined with easy access to population hubs like Bellingham and Everett, make it one of the most popular destinations in the state.

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Volunteers proudly smiling in front of a completed turnpike along the Oyster Dome trail. Photo by Amelia Bethke.

WTA trail maintenance volunteers have done annual maintenance on Oyster Dome and surrounding trails for years. But last fall, we looked to the future. In late 2018, our staff joined land managers to begin scouting different ways to reroute parts of the trail to improve the sustainability and usability of it for the long haul. We’ve also invested in education efforts around trailhead access; encouraging hikers to park and access the trail safely.

This spring, WTA crews finished up a major section of reroute on Oyster Dome, lengthening the trail and fixing areas prone to water damage. We want to make it easy for hikers stay on the trail and shore it up for increasing use. You can support the final stage of this work by volunteering for some scenic trail work parties this fall!

In addition to work on Oyster Dome, WTA volunteers have contributed more than 16,000 hours of trail maintenance on other much-loved and new trails that we’ve identified as priorities for Trails Rebooted.

Building a bigger community of trail champions

Our trails need passionate hikers! Last month we kicked off efforts to grow and strengthen the hiking community surrounding the four places where we’re focusing our attention first, starting with the Teanaway. After years of advocacy and community collaboration, the Teanaway Community Forest is on the cusp of realizing a 15-year recreation plan.

So we were thrilled to share a sneak peek at our dreams for the Teanaway trail system with more than 50 attendees at the Trails and Ales community event in Ellensburg. Before the night was out, many had  signed up for WTA trail work parties the following weekend on nearby Manastash Ridge. Other eager advocates joined our Trail Action Network so they would be among the first to know when hikers needed to come together in support of WTA’s vision of trails for everyone, forever.

Ellensburg Trails and Ales by Allie Tripp
Our trail community gathering in Ellensburg for Trails & Ales. Photo by Allie Tripp.

Interested in attending one of our events in your area? We have several Trails & Ales (and Hiker Potlucks) coming up this summer across the state. Bookmark our Hiker Events page to keep an eye on WTA and community-run hiker events all year long.

National attention for trails on the Mountain Loop Highway

The National Forest Foundation, in partnership with REI, are turning their eyes to two critical trails on the Mountain Loop Highway, another one of our pilot areas for Trails Rebooted. Both Lake 22 and Heather Lake are enormously popular trails (for good reason) and will benefit from the support of multiple organizations' stewardship. We are looking forward to working with partners like National Forest Foundation and REI to explore new ways to envision and invest in a comprehensive plan to help this area better meet the needs of hikers. In the meantime, you can help too by signing up for one of our many upcoming work parties off the Mountain Loop this summer.

New routes for hikers taking transit (and easing traffic) to trailheads

WTA is thrilled to be supporting the expansion of Trailhead Direct this year. Feedback from users last year resulted in additional service to Cougar Mountain and more public transit accessibility with the addition of the line beginning at the Tukwila transit station.

"Washington Trails Association is a proud partner of Trailhead Direct," said WTA's executive director, Jill Simmons. "Transit-to-trails services are key to making our region’s wonderful trails accessible to more people. It also helps trailheads meet the growing number of hikers, without adding more cars to already crowded parking lots. We’re excited Trailhead Direct is back for the 2019 hiking season and are working to ensure it’s an ongoing option for King County hikers."

Trailhead Direct exemplifies the kind of creative solutions WTA wants to see more of through our Trails Rebooted campaign. 2019 marks the final year of Trailhead Direct’s pilot phase so be sure to check out one of the new routes this summer and show your support for transit to trails!

we want your input!

We want to know what trails you care most about. Take this quick survey to help WTA select more iconic and popular trails to work on in 2019 and 2020. Participants will be entered to win a WTA prize pack.

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