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Skagit Land Trust Honors Three from WTA

Posted by Susan Elderkin at Mar 25, 2011 09:32 AM |
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WTA is finishing up work on Guemes Mountain, one of our ten signature projects for 2011. In appreciation for their hard work, the Skagit Land Trust is giving its annual Stewardship Award to three members of the WTA trail community - WTA field director Alan Carter Mortimer, WTA crew leader Arlen Bogaards and volunteer crew leader Pete Dewell.

From the top of the mountain, hikers can gaze out over Puget Sound at the San Juan Islands, enjoy vivid views of Mount Baker and the North Cascades and get a good glimpse of the Skagit River Delta.

Sound a bit like Mount Constitution on Orcas Island? Nope! This is Guemes Mountain on Guemes Island, one of the lesser known - yet very accessible - islands of the San Juans. And WTA has been working since last October to build a new trail to the top of it.

Everything about this place and this project is unprecedented. In 2008, an amazing partnership between the the Skagit Land Trust, San Juan Preservation Trust, and the residents of Guemes Island banded together to purchase the 70-acre top of Guemes Mountain. The Guemes Mountain Conservation Area is now at the center of a larger 534-acre area of protected private and public lands.

After the purchase, the community expressed interest in having a trail to Guemes Mountain. Enter Washington Trails Association. Pete Dewell, a longtime volunteer crew leader and former WTA board member, connected the groups and a new partnership was born - WTA's first trail work project in the San Juans.

Guemes Mountain work party

Last fall, with the enthusiastic help of dozens of local (and not-so-local) volunteers, WTA laid out and began building the new one-mile trail. They made a lot of progress and have been busy this season finishing up the work. We're so pleased to celebrate this trail as one of our Ten Signature Trail Work Projects for 2011.

It's also special in another way. Tomorrow the Skagit Land Trust will be honoring three members of the WTA community with its annual Stewardship Award - WTA field director Alan Carter Mortimer, WTA crew leader Arlen Bogaards and volunteer crew leader Pete Dewell. 

Skagit Land Trust stewardship director Michael Kirshenbaum had this to say about them: "I was absolutely amazed by Alan’s recall of the landscape...and Pete and Arlen have been wonderful, hard-working leaders. I can honestly say that one of the reasons that many volunteers come out to work on the project is to spend time with those guys. They make it fun no matter the conditions or the difficulty of the work."

If you want to get out there and volunteer with this amazing team, you'll have one more chance in May. Check the schedule in a couple of weeks for details. And if you find yourself on Guemes Island, be sure to hike the new trail.