WTA's 2022 Accomplishments
WTA's community stepped up in a big way this year.
Volunteers help update our app and helped our trail crews achieve more than 150,000 hours of trail work (partially funded by the hiker-supported Great American Outdoors Act). We continued our work on our hiker education and on developing career opportunities for people interested in outdoors work. Browse some of our wins this year:
Big Win: Hikers Help Secure Ongoing Funding for Trails
"WTA served as a leader this legislative session in advocating for additional maintenance funding for our state recreational lands. This funding will go a long way towards helping keep state parks well-maintained.”
-- Don Hoch, director of Washington State Parks
This year, hikers advocating for trails helped secure $15 million in annual funding for maintenance on state recreation land. That means much-needed maintenance in parks you love like state parks like Deception Pass (above) and Mount Spokane. Also receiving funding are DNR-managed lands like Tiger Mountain and wildlife refuges like Steigerwald, Turnbull, and Nisqually.
Making Trails for Everyone
Our Trails For Everyone work strives to make Washington's trails and hiking community feel safe for anyone who wants to be a hiker. 2022 was a big year for us, as we improved and diversified the information we provide to hikers and supported programs that help affinity groups get outside.
Find a Hike You Like with WTA's Free App
This year saw some big changes for WTA Trailblazer — our free mobile app. Now you can browse trip reports and hikes, and upload trip reports more smoothly. Big thanks to the hard work of our volunteer developers and designers who helped us make these critical updates.
"The app helps us get to the trailheads. We trust it much more than other mapping programs."
-- trip reporter William Garrow
Wheelchair Hiking Filter Launches in Hiking Guide
Built with the help of wheelchair-hiking experts like Jenni Schmitz, our new filter helps you find a trail that works for what you can do. Our community loves it already.
"Thank you for adding the accessibility feature to the trails map! We are looking for easy hikes to take our daughter with cerebral palsy who uses a wheelchair/medical stroller, and this is an amazing resource."
WTA partner Hosts Shared-Language Hikes with Transit
This year, ECOSS — a WTA partner — hosted a season of shared-language hiking trips to Little Si. The hike leaders participated in WTA's Outdoor Leadership Training program to prepare for leading people outside, and they used Trailhead Direct, a bus service run by King County Metro and King County Parks and supported by WTA.
"A lot of people...like carpooling together to go hiking so it's like a community gathering so that they can continue enjoying nature through this program.
-- Kevin Duong, ECOSS Leader
WTA's Gear Libraries SUPPORTED 3,000 Outdoor Experiences
The right gear makes every outdoor trip more fun (not to mention safer). That's why WTA’s Outdoor Leadership Training program runs a gear lending program that provides gear to help youth leaders and their youth to get outdoors. We recently caught up with three leaders who used our boots to hear how their trips went.
“We have a lot of folks who come out with us and are comforted by the fact they have the right gear provided by the gear library,”
-- Erin Dilworth, Community for a Healthy Bay
Protecting popular trails and creating hiking pros
"This is a rare recreational opportunity in the region and will be enjoyed by many. The sustained efforts by WTA volunteers bumped up the completion of [the Striped Peak] project by at least 5 years and the quality of the finished product exceeded expectations."
- Justin Zarzeczny, DNR Recreation Manager
New Trail on the Olympic Peninsula Opens
Three and a half years of trail work culminated in 2022 with the completion of a new, 7.5-mile-trail on Striped Peak, just outside of Port Angeles. Locals and visitors alike were thrilled, and land managers were amped as well.
A generous grant from the National Forest Foundation meant that Southwest Washington crews could work on over 25 trails in the Gifford Pinchot National Forest this year.
WTA supported a pilot outreach program on the Mountain Loop Highway this summer in partnership with Glacier Peak Institute. The first of its kind in this area, the program taught hundreds of hikers how to hike responsibly and respect the land.
The late 2022 completion of the West Fork Teanaway Proposal means we can break ground in 2023 on a future-proofed trail network built to handle recreation for years to come.
Ensuring there's nature nearby
"Many Washington residents don’t have access to a nearby park or trail, but WTA is changing that through their Trail Next Door campaign! "
- Wild Whatcom, WTA partner
Glendale Forest's Trail Network is Serving the Community
After a few years of planning, a trail system is emerging at Glendale, a forest in south King County. The locals are making the most of it. The first half of the trail on the elementary school's side of Glendale Park is open to a clearing and has been being used by a 5th grade class from Glendale that goes in every Friday to use it as an outdoor classroom.
Plus, WTA crew leader Kaci Darsow reports that they see several neighbors use Glendale every time they lead a work party here.
Happy #VolunteerWeek! @WTA_hikers volunteers have been integral in Parks' ability to bring safe and enjoyable trails to our community members. Recently they improved trails at #GrassLakeNaturePark & the stairs at #TrilliumPark. Thank you isn't enough 💚🌞🍄 pic.twitter.com/RagPSvoIiM— Oly Parks Arts & Rec (@OlyPARD) April 22, 2022
Changed Perspectives on what makes a hike
"Urban hikes near my home seem to be making me want to get out and explore more of the city I’ve lived in for two years. Trails don’t have to mean driving an hour to the mountains, they are right in our own backyard."
-- Elizabeth Storm, WTA assistant crew leader and Hike-a-Thon participant
Recovering Lost Trails
This is the kind of workload that no single small crew can accomplish alone given current levels of funding for public-lands recreation. The evolving partnership between WTA's pro crews and Forest Service trails programs offers a hopeful glimpse into the future of collaborative trail work.
-- Claire Thompson, Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest
Trip report highlight
"...a thousand thanks to the Lost Trails Found crew who have done a staggering amount of work to rescue this trail from near-oblivion."
-- trip reporter Don Gerald
WTA spent 58 days in the Entiat River Valley maintaining 35 miles of trail doing wildfire recovery. Their work dozens of backpacking loops possible, including the district's own Jon Meier, who was finally able to take his son on a backpacking trip he'd wanted to do for years.