Preview: WTA's 2022 Volunteer Backcountry Trip Schedule
It's only February, but Washingtonians know that the short, gray days mean it's primo planning season. Have you considered adding a WTA backcountry trip to your 2022 adventure schedule? You should. Here's why.
It's only February, but Washingtonians know that the short, gray days mean it's primo planning season. Have you considered adding a WTA backcountry trip to your 2022 adventure schedule?
Backcountry trips are multi-night volunteer work parties hosted by WTA in the spring and summer. Staying overnight and doing trail work allows volunteer crews to get more work done in parts of the state that don't get much maintenance, not to mention you're spending multiple days in gorgeous places. WTA offers three kinds of backcountry trips.
Volunteer vacations are fairly fancy. You get a comfy campsite selected by WTA and we fuel your hard work with gourmet meals. Volunteer vacations do have a fee associated with them which pays for the food we provide and the time required to pack it and your gear in.
Backcountry response team trips (BCRTs) let you spend 3 - 8 days camping and doing trail work. Your crew might stay in the same campsite for the duration of the trip, or move camp each day. These vary in difficulty and are self-sustained (meaning you pack your own food and gear).
Youth-specific volunteer vacations are for 14 - 18 year olds. Volunteering and learning trail maintenance skills with a group of other teens is a great way to spend spring break or a week of your summer vacation. These also have a fee associated with them because food is provided, but scholarships are available.
Some things Change...
Two Volunteer Vacations per person per launch
Thanks to an increase in staffing and streamlined processes, we're happy to announce that this year each person can register for two volunteer vacations per launch, as long as there is room.
Please remember though, these trips are unique opportunities to learn about trail work and spend time with other volunteers. In order to give as many people a chance to be outdoors learning the basics of trail work with a team, please do not register for a trip unless you are certain you can attend.
Vaccinations required to participate
Like our day work parties, all staff and volunteers participating in backcountry trips are required to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19. Submitting proof of vaccination is necessary prior to work party participation. We’ve put together a vaccine requirement FAQ page that outlines this process.
Some stay the same
We can't control fire (or weather)
Ongoing drought conditions and an increasingly unpredictable climate have extended wildfire season across the West, including Washington. We do our best to plan trips that take these and other environmental factors into account, and we have back-up plans in place in case locations or projects need to change. Safety is our number one priority, so even with careful planning, cancellations may still be necessary. We'll communicate any changes or cancellations to crews as early as possible.
Get on that waitlist
If the trip you are hoping to join is full, put yourself on a waitlist. We use registration timestamps and other criteria for moving volunteers off of the waitlist to fill a trip, and there's a good chance you'll get on the trip you're waitlisted for. Here's what we're weighing when making placement decisions for trips that have multiple people on the waitlist:
- Does this crew have at least one Assistant Crew Leader with extensive volunteer vacation kitchen experience?
- Does the crew need a sawyer?
- Has this person had the chance to do a volunteer vacation before? (We hold two spots on each volunteer vacation for newcomers.)
- Has this volunteer already been on a trip this year? Is there someone else on the list who hasn't had the chance to go out yet?
Important Dates For BCRTs and Adult Volunteer Vacations
- Feb. 4 - Trip preview week: You'll be able to preview the 2022 backcountry trip schedule on Feb. 4. This gives you a week to review the schedule, find a few you want to do, and most importantly, fill out your forms and submit your proof of vaccination! These must be complete before you register for any trips.
- Feb. 12 - First Registration: Registration for our volunteer vacations and BCRTs between March and June open at 10 a.m. on Saturday, Feb. 12.
- Apr. 29 - Second Registration: Registration for our volunteer vacations and BCRTs Between July and October open at 6 p.m. on Friday, Apr. 29.
Youth Volunteer Vacations
WTA will be running Youth Volunteer Vacations in June and July utilizing our COVID safety protocols. The Priority Application period is April 1-17, with trip placement notifications on April 27. For more information, check out the Youth Volunteer Vacation page.