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Join Zachary, WTA's New Seattle-Area Blue Hat, on Trail

Posted by Sarah Rich at Apr 09, 2013 12:55 PM |
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Meet Zachary McBride, an experienced crew leader who will be leading most day trips in the Puget Sound area all year long. When you end up on trail with Zachary, you're guaranteed to have fun while you get the work done.

Although Zachary McBride worked as a WTA crew leader last summer in the Skykomish District, today marks his first day as a blue hat in the Seattle area. Zachary will crew lead most of the day trips in the Puget Sound area year-round, so if you ever venture out on a work party close to Seattle during the week, you'll probably meet Zachary.

"Building trails is more fun"

When you talk to him on trail, you might notice that Zachary knows an awful lot about forest ecology, native plants and invasive species. (Hint: ask him about bushes). That's because his professional background is in outdoor conservation and recreation. Before working for WTA, Zachary did a stint restoring backcountry lands in the Mojave Desert and Great Basin areas with the Student Conservation Association and then leading volunteer restoration crews in the Puget Sound area with EarthCorps.

Now that he has landed in the world of trail maintenance, Zachary concludes, "Building trails is more fun. Opening up responsible access rather than trying to limit people's access is more appealing to people because it allows them to recreate."

And Zachary appreciates that WTA does just that. Working for other environmental organizations, he had always heard about WTA's work and was excited to be part of it.

"It has always been a dream of mine to work with the organization. I think WTA has an excellent model for trail work and volunteer management."

Learning from each other: airplanes, elevators and trail work

Zachary especially enjoys the strong sense of community he feels working with WTA volunteers on trail. "Being outside has a way of equalizing people," he says. "On trail, you talk to people you wouldn't normally get to talk to."

Zachary likes to take advantage of the fact that he meets such a wide variety of volunteers on trail who he might not otherwise meet. He explains that he always has a constant stream of questions popping into his head about things he comes into contact with on a regular basis, and on trail these questions are sometimes answered. If, for example, he finds out that the volunteer working next to him is an elevator repair-person, he'll ask that volunteer all of the questions that he's always wondered about elevators. Since he began crew leading for WTA, Zachary says, he has learned a lot about airplanes.

As a crew leader, Zachary sees his main responsibility as ensuring that every volunteer has a fulfilling experience. "People are there to do trail work," he says, "but they're also there for other reasons as well. Whether they're there to talk to each other or to get some exercise or to impress their girlfriend, it's important for me to find out why they're there and to customize their experiences so they get what they want out of it."

A creaky knee hiker and champion crew leader

When he isn't working on trails, Zachary enjoys hiking them. He claims that he tends to go on "creaky knee hikes," taking it easy and enjoying the surrounding plants and scenery. His favorite hike in Washington is Sahale Arm in the North Cascades.

In Zachary, WTA has found a champion crew leader. His explanation for why he loves doing rock work says it all. "You can show someone a giant rock and they will say, 'I can't move that,'" Zachary says. "And then you show them how to move it very slowly with a rock carrier, and they can do it."

Sign up for an upcoming trip with Zachary today

Zachary will be working at Cougar Mountain for the rest of this week and next week. Sign up for one of these work parties to meet him in person!

April 11, Cougar Mountain

April 12, Cougar Mountain

April 16, Cougar Mountain

April 17, Cougar Mountain

April 18, Cougar Mountain

April 19, Cougar Mountain


Sign up!

I participated in my first work party yesterday (with Zach!) and had a great time - so good that I went home and signed up for two more events. I was surprised by the big, close-knit (but very open and welcoming) community of regulars. I learned a bunch from them, got some good exercise, and now I have two sections of trail that I will always think of as my own. ;)

If you love trails and have the time, I definitely recommend signing up for one of these.

Posted by:

smultringunn on Apr 10, 2013 08:58 AM

pika on Join Zachary, WTA's New Seattle-Area Blue Hat, on Trail

Zach demonstrated how a simple rope zip line rigging can engage a group in a FUN and productive activity. Trail work frequently separates the team into small and individual activities. It's fun to work together, especially engaging with younger volunteers. Look forward to see more examples of group work.

Posted by:

pika on May 20, 2019 07:33 AM