"Trails Restore Us" — Why One Hiker Is Matching Gifts to WTA for GiveBIG
A backpacking trip along the Dosewallips River in the summer of 2020 is just one the reasons Matt Martinez is matching other hikers' donations to WTA on May 4&5 for GiveBIG.
by Matt Martinez, hiker and WTA board member
In the bleakest days of the COVID-19 pandemic, it has seemed impossible that life could ever return to normal. It wasn’t until I hit the trail that I found some semblance of pre-pandemic life.
It was a midsummer overnight hike along the Dosewallips River Trail in Olympic National Park. I passed through the ghostly remnants of the Dosewallips car campsite, rendered inaccessible after the swollen river took out a chunk of the road in 2002. I hiked through the stunning old growth forest to the campsite at Big Timber.
Along the way, my companions and I encountered many people who were simply happy to be outside among the trees and the rushing rivers and streams. We stopped and chatted with several hiking groups, all socially distanced and masked up. Everyone commented on how normal it felt to be on the trail. One hiker used the word “restorative,” which seemed to fit perfectly.
Throughout the journey I was reminded of all the work Washington Trails Association has done with the Recreate Responsibly Coalition during the pandemic to make sure that hikers are safe and stay mindful of their surroundings. Washington Trails Association recognized the need for people whose lives were being impacted by the pandemic in one way or another to have easy access to information on how to spend time in Washington's beautiful natural areas. These places feed and restore us in innumerable ways, and I am forever grateful that WTA helped make it possible to get outdoors.
This is one of many reasons I have decided to put my dollars towards building a GiveBIG matching challenge for WTA. Every year, hundreds of thousands of people all over Washington take a few minutes to give back to their favorite nonprofits during GiveBIG.
This year, I partnered with fellow board members and several long-time and strong supporters of WTA, and together we committed to matching the first $100,000 raised for WTA on GiveBIG. This means that when you donate to WTA through GiveBIG on May 4 and 5, your gift will be doubled.
I’m asking that you join me in supporting this essential organization that believes that trails are good for our hearts, minds, and bodies. We are entering another summer of Covid, and I know that as I dust off my boots, WTA will be there to support me and everyone who wants to get out on trail safely and responsibly — a testament to their belief in the redemptive power of nature and the resiliency of the human spirit.
Thank you for your kind support.