What an incredible year!
With the support of hikers all over the state, Washington Trails Association has had a record-breaking year in 2013. We've broken records for trail maintenance (190 statewide), total volunteers (3,438), youth engagement (26% of all volunteers), trip reports (7,300) and trip reporters (2,800).
All year long, WTA has connected hikers with trails that inspire and motivate and volunteers with projects that are meaningful and much-needed. We've advocated for recreational road access and for funding of Washington's state parks and forests.
We filled an information gap when the federal government shut down and connected young people with their environment.
In August, Governor Jay Inslee even took the initiative to declare 'Washington Trails Day' in recognition of WTA's volunteer trail work and education.
It's been an excellent year, and WTA couldn't have done it without the support of our members and community.
Please consider becoming a member or making a special donation to help fund more great work in 2014.
Record volunteer turn-out built and improved 190 trails across the state
- WTA connected 3,438 volunteers with needed trail projects across the state in 2013, contributing more than 104,000 hours of work. These volunteers contributed about $2 million worth of service to Washington’s public lands in 2013. About 550 volunteers donated five days or more of their time.
- WTA volunteers maintained and improved a record 190 different trails this year. WTA hosted 1,100+ days of trail work over the course of the year. Volunteers chose between one-day work parties, week-long volunteer vacations and self-supported multi-day Backcountry Response Teams.
Turtleback Mountain, Mailbox Peak, Ape Cave Viewpoint trail, the Nimbus Knob Loop, the Pratt Connector Trail and more.
> Trail work wins in 2013
> Volunteer stories [VIDEO]
- WTA’s work crews spanned the state, working in all 3 national parks, 5 national forests, 8 state parks, the State Department of Natural Resources, 4 county park systems, a national wildlife refuge, 2 city parks, a land trust and a utility district. This allowed WTA to work year-round addressing trails close to urban areas as well as those penetrating deep wilderness and everything in between.
Introducing kids and teens to the outdoors, stewardship and leadership
- WTA launched the Outdoor Leadership Training program to get 10- to 18-year olds out on trails by empowering teachers and youth workers with the training and resources they need to lead safe and fun outdoor adventures. The program includes a new gear lending library (with generous donations of raingear, boots and backpacks from companies) for teachers and youth organizations who want to get kids into the outdoors.
- 860 kids and teens volunteered on 66 youth work parties this year, making up 26 percent of volunteers. More than 100 teens earned their green hard hat, bestowed on their fifth work party.
- Partnerships with 23 different school and community groups (12 of them new) fueled growth in WTA’s youth program. Partners included YMCA’s BOLD program, Whatcom WILD, Explorations Academy, Mercer Island VOICE, Eastside Catholic High School, and various Boy and Girl Scout troops.
- 17 teens in WTA's first class of graduates from our Youth Ambassador Program reached more than 700 students in 12 different schools with outdoor stewardship messages.
- This year, WTA connected more than 6,000 subscribing families to family-friendly hiking information and advice with our Families Go Hiking Newsletter, a four-fold increase from 2012.
Connecting, informing and inspiring an amazing community of hikers
- 2,868 hikers have written more than 7,600 Trip Reports of their hikes this year, sharing hiking conditions, hidden trails and their experiences across the state. Hikers added more than 82,000 hikes to their "My Backpacks" wish lists on wta.org.
- A total of 13,000+ hikers have downloaded our Trailblazer mobile app, which (with the help of a great volunteer team) we debuted on iOS and Android in May (Windows was launched in 2012).
- WTA showcased our annual Northwest Photo Contest winners in our first-ever WTA calendar, inspiring members with stunning photography of Washington all year long.
- WTA's third annual Hike-the-State event brought 200+ hikers together with regional experts who shared dozens of great hike suggestions from around the state and we traveled the state, connecting 400 hikers with each other at 7 Trails & Ales events in Mount Vernon, Poulsbo, Spokane, Tacoma, Vancouver, Leavenworth and Seattle.
- During August's annual Hike-a-Thon, 203 participants (sponsored by 1,500 people) hiked more than 9,500 miles in a mission to protect and give back to trails. Together, they raised $91,500 for trails.
- WTA’s continued partnership with Mountaineers Books provided hikers with professionally-researched hiking information about more than 900 trails.
- This year, outlets from Sunset Magazine, The New York Times, The Washington Post and Buzzfeed to our own local Everett Herald, Spokane Review, The Columbian and The Seattle Times directed readers to WTA for information and inspiration about Washington's wild places.
WTA is a strong voice for hikers and a national model
- WTA was a statewide leader on recreational road access. We spearheaded the Mount-Baker Snoqualmie Sustainable Roads process, a series of public meetings that gave hikers a voice in the Forest Service process to reduce their road system. The process has been watched closely as a potential national model for other forests to follow. This followed the release of WTA's State of Access report, a case study and assessment tool for managing road access to trailheads in a sustainable, ecologically-sound way. And after a decade of speaking out for the Suiattle River Road, a key access road into the heart of Glacier Peak Wilderness, repairs began in earnest in the fall.
- Governor Jay Inslee officially proclaimed August 3, 2013 'Washington Trails Day' in recognition of WTA's volunteer trail work and efforts to raise awareness of hiking and public lands in Washington.
- Working with Olympia's decision-makers and advocates, WTA ensured State Parks received $20 million in general funding for the 2014-2015 biennium. On a more local level, WTA helped pass the King County Parks levy to protect parks and trails for the county's 2 million residents.
- When the federal government shutdown in October, WTA became the go-to source in Washington for hiking information, keeping hikers informed and safe.
Thanks to member support, WTA has achieved more for the hiking community in 2013 than ever before. In fact, we rely on the financial generosity of members like you for over half of our annual funding. Whether you've been a loyal member for years or just joined for the first time, we thank you.