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WTA Opens Second Gear Library in South Puget Sound

Posted by Jessi Loerch at Aug 20, 2021 10:11 AM |

New location will make it easier for more groups to get the gear they need to get outside with kids and families.

By Krista Dooley

Supporting community partners by reducing barriers to getting outside is a pillar of WTA’s Outdoor Leadership Training (OLT) program. Established in 2014, the OLT program is designed to empower educators and community leaders to get youth outdoors. This summer, WTA is thrilled to collaborate with Pierce County Parks to expand our reach to more community leaders by opening a second gear library at Meridian Habitat Park in Puyallup. 

This new location will support our existing partners in the south Puget Sound region and create opportunities to build new relationships with more communities. The collaboration with Pierce County Parks extends beyond the new gear library. Throughout the year, WTA will be partnering with Pierce County Parks to host a series of outdoor workshops for the public to help educate and build skills for those new to hiking and the trails in Washington. 

A woman carrying a load of trekking poles and a bear canister walks into a room full of outdoor gear and boxes.
WTA is thrilled to be able to help more group get outside, thanks to our new gear library in South Puget Sound. Photo by Lily Poppen. 

“Pierce County Parks is proud to be a partner on this project,” said Roxanne Miles, director of Pierce County Parks. “There are so many amazing places to explore and connect with nature in our home community, and families just need equipment, guidance and inspiration to get started. The Outdoor Leadership Training program will equip enthusiastic leaders with the tools they need to engage local youth and families and make outdoor opportunities and experiences accessible for everyone.”

Over the last several years, WTA has been committed to changing the conversation about who has access to the outdoors. As the OLT program has grown, we have listened to leaders share the challenges that they faced during their outdoor experiences, as well as the countless positive experiences that resulted from their outings. Our hope is that a second gear library will continue to reduce some of the challenges. 

“Wild Grief takes grieving teens on day hikes and backpacking trips, and we lean heavily on the WTA gear library to make sure our trips are accessible to low-income families who don't have adequate gear,” said Monica Anney, Wild Grief program coordinator. “We were so excited to hear that a WTA gear library was opening up in Pierce County! As an Olympia-based organization with a small budget, and only one part-time staff member, the drive up to Seattle multiple times per summer to pick up and return gear was a big lift for us. Having a gear library closer means we can start offering loaner gear on our day hikes as well. Thank you, WTA!”

As schools and organizations begin more in-person programming, WTA will be ready to support their needs for multiday or single-day experiences with free access to quality outdoor gear in two Puget Sound locations.

This article originally appeared in the Fall 2021 issue of Washington Trails Magazine. Support trails as a member of WTA to get your one-year subscription to the magazine.

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