"This little newsletter has been an experiment so far, testing a hunch I've had that such a means of communication among walkers is needed." — Signpost magazine, 1966.
UW's Nature and Health Group Talks Time Outside
Mar 22, 2021
What researchers are discovering about how and why being outside is so good for us.
Hiker Headlines: State Parks Re-open, Advocacy Updates, Trail Closed, Maritime Washington
Mar 18, 2021
With two free days coming up for state parks, they’ve announced the re-opening of many facilities. Deb Haaland was confirmed as the new Secretary of the Interior. WTA’s biannual Hiker Rally was a success. Most of the Spruce Railroad Trail will be temporarily closed. The Maritime Washington National Heritage Area is looking for public input. And, you could name WSDOT’s next snowplow. Here’s some news you may have missed while out on trail this week.
5 Big Take-Aways from WTA's First Virtual Hiker Rally
Mar 17, 2021
2021 brought a new twist to our biannual Hiker Rally Day — like many other events have been for the last year, it was all-virtual. WTA staff learned a lot about what it takes to move to an online format. But more importantly, we were inspired, as always, by our hiker advocates who showed up to speak out for our trails and public lands.
Five Land Managers Get Real on the Pandemic and Public Lands
Mar 16, 2021
A year after COVID-19 pandemic began to change our lives in innumerable ways, including in how we get outside, WTA sat down with our land manager partners to talk about the last year. We discussed the opportunities and challenges from the pandemic and the key role that public lands played in people’s mental and physical health. We also talked about the impacts of unprecedented visitors to public lands when agencies were underfunded and trying to keep their staff safe during a public-health crisis. Everyone we talked to was grateful that public lands could be there for people who desperately need exercise, escape and restoration. Our partners also have real concerns for the long-term management of public lands — and they hope to help everyone see how they can ensure that these special spaces so they will be there for generations to come.
Youth Volunteer Vacations: What You Need to Know for 2021
Mar 16, 2021
At WTA, we know that the disruptions, stress and social isolation of the previous year makes outdoor opportunities for teens more important than ever. WTA is excited to resume our Youth Volunteer Vacation program in 2021, where youth ages 14-18 build trails and community together in beautiful places across Washington state.
Hiker Headlines: Snowpack, Park Directors, Land Swap, Culvert Replacement
Mar 11, 2021
Mountain snowpack may take longer than normal to melt out this summer, and a new tool will help you track it. Two new park directors lay out their plans. The Colville National Forest is considering a land exchange. A culvert replacement project will take place in the Black Diamond Natural Area this summer.
From Awe to Ah-Hah!: 4 Advocates Realize the Power of Their Voices for Trails
Mar 11, 2021
When did you realize that trails don’t just appear in the woods? Or that your favorite trail probably exists in part thanks to hikers like you? If you haven't had that "ah-hah!" moment yet, it's understandable. The path towards establishing and protecting trails is winding (much like those trails we love so much). But in the same way that you can lay the foundation for memorable summer adventures by tuning into permit season each year in February, hikers like you can help build a lifetime of adventure by consistently participating in advocacy work.
Volunteer Crew Leaders Step Up to Help WTA and Each Other
Mar 09, 2021
In addition to WTA’s regular seasonal staff, 27 volunteers stepped up to lead trail work parties this past summer — making space for 2,200 more volunteers to engage in trail work.
Hiker Headlines: Stay Off Muddy Trails, S&R Drill, Free Day, Climbing Closures
Mar 04, 2021
It’s March 4. In Eastern and Central Washington it’s important to stay off of muddy trails during the freeze-thaw cycle. Kittitas County Search and Rescue will be performing a practice drill on Hex Mountain this weekend. Entry to State Parks will be free on March 19. Two climbing areas in North Cascades National Park will be closed to protect peregrine falcon nesting habitat. Here’s some news you may have missed while out on trail this week.
GAOA Provides Vital Funding for Public Lands
Mar 03, 2021
The Great American Outdoors Act was a huge win for the outdoor community. Here’s some of the ways it will help Washington.
Change Your Perspective -- Photos Just for the Fun of It
Mar 02, 2021
Can you capture the giddy, silly feeling of hiking in a photograph? From catching a waterfall in the palm of your hand to flying over the Cascades, these photographers put the fun in our photo contest.
Meeting The Need: Investments on the Mountain Loop Highway
Feb 26, 2021
With more people discovering a love for trails, it's important to ensure the trail system can manage the increased needs. Here's how WTA is working on that goal in one part of Washington.
Hiker Headlines: Clean Boots, Permits, Interior Secretary, Volunteer Safety
Feb 25, 2021
It’s February 25. Permit applications for many of Washington’s most popular recreation areas are either open now or will be soon. Confirmation hearings for Interior Secretary are ongoing. Learn what hikers can do to stop the spread of invasive species. And, it’s a good time to revisit safety guidelines if you’re thinking of volunteering on trail.
1 Trail, 2 Decades, 15 Stories
Feb 25, 2021
WTA started as a way for hikers to share their experiences on trails, and those decades of stories (now shared as trip reports on wta.org) compose a collective memory of Washington’s hiking community. We’ve gone back through nearly 1,000 trip reports for Goat Lake along the Mountain Loop Highway to highlight the variety of experiences that this trail has supported over the years.
Shoring Up the Neighborhood Trails that Provide Everyday Escapes
Feb 24, 2021
WTA is hard at work making sure urban parks all over Washington are getting the love they deserve, including a recent project in Tacoma.
Hiking Alone in Winter, Finding Peace and Quiet on the Trail
Feb 19, 2021
Even those of us who relish this season can get mired in it, despairing that going outside will never be fun or easy again. In these doldrums of winter, one of the cures for finding joy is, counterintuitively, hiking alone.
Hiker Headlines: Permit Changes, Snow Closures, Outdoor Jobs
Feb 18, 2021
It’s February 18. Mount Rainier National Park announced changes to their backcountry permitting system. Some popular trailheads are temporarily closed due to heavy snow. Many land managers are hiring for summer seasonal positions. Last weekend’s lowland snow transformed nearby parks into winter wonderlands. Here’s some news you may have missed while out on trail this week.
Mount Rainier Tries Out New Backcountry Camping Permits Process in 2021
Feb 18, 2021
Here's what you need to know start planning your summer adventures in Mount Rainier National Park and on the Wonderland Trail. The early access lottery starts March 2.
Ask WTA: How Are Bear Cans Tested?
Feb 17, 2021
If you’ve ever hauled a bear canister along on a backpacking trip, you know they’re sturdy. And, if you’ve ever tried to open one while tired or in the dark, you know they can be tricky to get into. But how do the manufacturers of approved bear canisters actually know that a bear can’t get into them?
Hiker Headlines: Weather Advisory, Lunar New Year, Backcountry Trips, LWCF
Feb 11, 2021
It’s February 11. This weekend promises to bring extreme winter weather. Lunar New Year is tomorrow. Registration for WTA’s backcountry trips goes live this Saturday. There are new changes to the Land and Water Conservation Fund. We have valentines for that special hiker in your life.
Nature on Trail: Cougar and Licorice Fern
Feb 08, 2021
Washington's wild places are teeming with life. Learn a bit more about two local species, the cougar and licorice fern, and where you can find them.