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Reflecting on 50: Milestones and Moments Ahead

Posted by Kate Neville at May 16, 2016 05:13 PM |

A conversation with three board members who are sharing their birthdays with Washington Trails Association.

Washington Trails Association isn’t alone in celebrating a milestone birthday this year! We caught up with WTA board members Andrea Baines, Carole Bianquis and Susan Queary, all of whom are also celebrating 50 years in 2016. In honor of that milestone, we asked them to share their thoughts about what they've gotten from trails in the last 50 years, why they volunteer their time with WTA and what they hope the future of trails holds.

What do hiking and trails mean to you?

Andrea: It’s how I connect with my teenage daughter. We love to go on day hikes together, and she’s done quite a bit of trail work, too. She earned her Green Hat (a personalized hard hat volunteers receive after completing five days of trail work) and she’ll be going on a youth volunteer vacation this year. She loves rock work!

Carole: Hiking is “me time.” My husband hikes faster, and I enjoy being on my own to fully take in my surroundings.

Susan: For me it’s my church. The outdoors is where I feel the most spiritual, happiest and healthiest.

WTA Board Member Andrea Baines and her daughter
WTA Board Member Andrea Baines and her daughter on trail.

Do you have any hiking-related goals this year, and if so what are they?

Carole: I accomplished my big milestone hiking goal last year, by spending time exploring places you can’t reach on a day hike. We explored Mount St. Helens and Mazama. This year it’s pretty much whatever I can fit in!

Susan: My goal is to hike the Oregon and Washington section of the Pacific Crest Trail. I’ve been tackling it one week per year, and recently I also started working towards hiking the entire Appalachian Trail. This May I’ll be traveling to Georgia to hike the trail.

Andrea: My goal is to file more trip reports!

Susan Queary Mount St. Helens
WTA Board Member Susan Queary exploring Mount St. Helens.

What excites or inspires you about WTA’s work in the community?

Susan: Our work with youth.

Carole: I agree. It’s so inspiring to meet young people who started at day work parties or volunteer vacations, and see them go on to become crew leaders and trail advocates. On one recent work party I was talking with one of the other crew leaders and he remarked, “one of these youth volunteers could go on to be President one day!”

Andrea: It’s the same for me. Our youth volunteers are the future of trails.

Carole Bianquis volunteering
Board member Carole Bianquis, wearing her Assistant Crew Leader Orange Hat, hard at work digging trail.

What do you hope hiking in Washington will be like 50 years from now?

Carole: That there will be enough trail mileage to support our growing population, and still “get away.” That within a short drive of any major urban center, you can go on a day hike that feels like a true retreat from the city.

Susan: I want there to be adequate trail infrastructure to support the increasing numbers of hikers—and adequate resources to support trails.

Andrea: My main wish is that trails will be adequately funded. Whether through private or public support—that we will have enough funding to build and maintain all of Washington’s trails and provide all kinds of hiking experiences for everyone who wants to get out and explore.

As a WTA board member, is there anything else you would like to share with our hiking community?

Susan: If you see something, take action! If you see trails that need repair, get involved. Volunteer, and advocate for the trails you care about.

Carole: I agree—if you haven’t already, please consider volunteering on trail! I never realized how much went into trail construction until I spent a day on trail, and I’ve heard many volunteers say the same thing. Trails don’t just “appear”—a lot goes into it.

Andrea: Help support trails! There are lots of ways to participate, whether by volunteering or becoming a member of WTA.

Carole Bianquis, Andrea Baines and Susan Queary
Carole Bianquis, Andrea Baines and Susan Queary, celebrating at the WTA offices.

Learn more about Andrea, Carole, Susan and all of WTA’s hard-working board volunteers who lead the way for our programs to accomplish so much for Washington's trails every year.