Thanks to hikers like you, Washington Trails Association's 50th anniversary year was a celebration of the power of the hiking community.
From our humble beginnings as a little newsletter to our current role as a leading voice for trails, our goal to empower hikers continues to drive our work of protecting and promoting trails in Washington state.
In 2016, WTA has succeeded in connecting people with trails, inspiring volunteers and building a community of trail advocates to protect and promote the places we love. Your passion and support helped us achieve unprecedented results: for trail maintenance volunteer hours (150,000) number of volunteers (4,700), youth engagement (25 percent of all trail volunteers), trip reports (19,724) and trip reporters (7,900).
All year long, WTA has connected hikers with trails that inspire, enabled volunteers to complete projects that are meaningful and much-needed, and fostered a community where hikers come together to create change.
WTA expanded hiking opportunities in city, county, state and federal lands. We've advocated for recreational road access and for funding of Washington's state parks and forests. We celebrated our shared passions and unique experiences.
It's been a remarkable year, and WTA couldn't have done it without the support of our members and community. Whether you have been a part of WTA since the beginning or wrote you first trip report this year—thank you.
Please consider becoming a member or making a special donation to help fund more great work in 2017.
Record volunteer turn-out built and improved 240 trails across the state
- WTA completed a record 150,000 hours of volunteer trail work across the state in 2016. That's like hiring a full-time workforce of 70 trail workers for an entire year.
- WTA volunteers come out in force this year, with more than 4,700 people contributing $3.9 million in donated labor to trails.
- WTA volunteer crews made a difference on more than 240 trails in Washington this year, whether a popular close-in hike or a trail to a backcountry adventure we are protecting hiking experiences, breaking new ground and building new partnerships. Read more highlights from WTA's 2016 trail maintenance projects.
Introducing kids and teens to the outdoors, stewardship and leadership
- WTA's Outdoor Leadership Training program, which empowers teachers and youth workers with the training and resources they need to lead safe and fun outdoor adventures, helped support more than 1,290 outdoor experiences. The OLT program's gear lending library continued to grow, and two new snowshoeing and backpacking workshops were added to offer year-round training opportunities.
- WTA broadened our youth community partners. We partnered with 57 different school and community groups, including Whatcom WILD, Mountaineers Explorers and Pioneers groups, Explorations Academy, Licton Springs Rites of Passage, Eastside Catholic High School, Orcas Island Youth Conservation Corps and various Boy and Girl Scout troops. As a result of this work in 25 percent of WTA's volunteers were youth in 2016.
- A new cohort of 15 Youth Ambassadors was trained in November 2016. The previous cohort of ambassadors organized eight work parties, started four hiking clubs, organized hikes with their middle schools and wrote articles about WTA’s opportunities for youth in their high school and club newsletters. These actions helped the ambassadors connect nearly 1,000 of their peers with information about WTA.
- Youth Ambassador alumni continue to engage with WTA, attending our first ever reunion camping trip at Federation Forest State Park, where they reflected on their school year, got a chance to reconnect, tested a new Youth Vacation menu item (falafel!) and did a day of trail work on the park trails.
- This year, WTA connected nearly 17,000 subscribing families to family-friendly hiking information and advice with our Families Go Hiking Newsletter.
Connecting, informing and inspiring an amazing community of hikers
- 7,940 hikers have helped their fellow hikers by writing more than 19,880 trip reports this year, sharing hiking conditions, local trails and their experiences across the state.
- Washington Trails magazine shared unique hikes and trail news with WTA members including features on the recreation economy in Washington and solo hiking inspiration.
- WTA celebrated the diverse community that loves trails with our year-long Meet the Trail Community series.
- During August's annual Hike-a-Thon, 475 amazing people hiked more than 15,400 miles and raised $134,000 to support WTA’s mission to protect and give back to trails.
- We hosted events across the state bringing hikers together to learn more about our work and discover a new favorite trail, including WTA@50, our anniversary celebration that brought out hundreds of enthusiastic supporters and partners despite the weather.
WTA is a strong voice for hikers and trails
- WTA worked with partners to help shape recreation policy in Washington, including engaging hikers in local planning processes and highlighting the need to invest in our public resources.
- On Washington Trails Day, WTA ambassadors visited popular trailheads around the state to talk with hikers about the importance of being a good trail steward. The conversations resulted in some good learning, inspiration to leave the trail better than before and signatures for our petition urging lawmakers to increase funding for our trails.
- In the fall WTA's advocacy director traveled to Washington, D.C. to meet with legislators and hand deliver WTA's petition by nearly 1,000 hikers supporting better funding for trails.
- As a member of the Teanaway Community Forest Advisory Committee, WTA is helping the Washington Department of Natural Resources and Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife to develop a management plan that supports hiking, biking and horseback riding trails in the newly established Teanaway Community Forest in Kittitas County.
Thanks to member support, WTA has achieved more for the hiking community in 2016 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.