Lost Trails Found Crews Bring Big Boost to Backcountry Trails
This summer, WTA will be leading two six-person crews into the backcountry to tackle some of our biggest projects.
This summer, WTA is excited to announce the expansion of our Lost Trails Found crews! After a successful pilot in 2021, we are pleased to be continuing the program and increasing capacity with the addition of a second 6-person crew.
Our inaugural crew worked on backcountry favorites throughout the Lake Chelan, Pasayten and Glacier Peak wilderness areas and cleared a staggering number of fallen logs from the trail — 1,301 to be exact. We can't wait to see what our expanded crews will be able to accomplish this year.
WTA launched our Lost Trails Found campaign in 2017 with the goal of saving backcountry trails, many of which are at risk of falling off the map due to a lack of maintenance. We know that crews on the ground are key to bringing these trails back into hiking shape. But, due to the trails remote nature and short summer work window in those areas, they can be difficult to reach with our standard volunteer model. By employing professional crews, we're able to send folks into the backcountry for extended 8-day trips and reach deeper sections of the backcountry.
This summer, our two Lost Trails Found crews will be working to address the maintenance backlog across several regions, with trips planned in the Okanogan-Wenatchee, Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie, Umatilla and Gifford Pinchot national forests. Many of our priority areas have been hit hard by wildfires and storm damage, which have buried trails under miles of fallen trees and damaged key trail structures. With the additional capacity this year, we'll also spend some time on higher-impact trails that are having trouble holding up to increased demand.
After onboarding in May, our crews have already hit the trail for their first of many hitches — teaming up for a week in the Entiat to work on crosscut saw skills and clear out seasonal storm damage. In just a few days, they helped Forest Service crews reopen the last mile of road to the Entiat River trailhead, which had become inaccessible to vehicles due to dozens of fallen trees. From there, they moved onward to logout the first few miles of trail. This week, they headed back out to the Entiat to continue maintenance up to the wilderness boundary and begin work on re-opening access to the Larch Lakes and Cow Creek Meadows loop.
Funding for our Lost Trails Found crews was made possible by the Region 6 Forest Service and the Great American Outdoors Act, as well as our generous donors. Keep up to date with all of our lost trails found work at wta.org/losttrails.