Washington Trails Association
Trails for everyone, forever
In a year when we needed trails more than ever — hikers showed-up by supporting each other and WTA to ensure we were there when you need us. Thank you to our 25,000 members who helped make so much possible in 2020.
We've long known that trails are good for our hearts, bodies and minds — providing not just recreation, but restoration. And in 2020, the value of trails was brought to a new level of importance in our lives.
As plans were cancelled and businesses were shuttered, a record number of hikers headed outdoors for a much needed reprieve during a challenging year. While exploring public lands safely during a pandemic was new territory for us all, WTA worked hard to be there for hikers:
Connected hikers with trails. This year, we helped 5.5 million people find where to go, and guided them on how adventure safely and smartly during these uncertain times. Thanks to our extensive hiking guide, our updated closure and conditions alerts, and the 23,000+ trip reports you wrote this year, wta.org continued to be the go-to place for hikers.
Paved the way toward responsible recreation. This spring, WTA and our partners at REI were the leaders in bringing together a statewide coalition to address concerns facing our public lands during this public health crisis. The efforts of the Washington collation helped inspire a national Recreate Responsibly movement.
Helped pass critical federal trail funding bills. In addition to helping hikers, your support directly benefited the trails you love. Two pieces of legislation that WTA has long advocated for — full funding for the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) and funding to address the backlog of maintenance on federal lands become law with the passage of the historic Great American Outdoors Act.
Set a new standard for trail work safety. WTA also worked to develop industry-leading modified safety standards so our volunteers could return to the field and complete some much needed maintenance. Because of this, we managed to complete more than 71,000 hours of volunteer trail work this year.
Reimagined leadership and training. We explored innovative ways to inspire and engage folks looking to get outside and give back. Between informational webinars, virtual crew leader trainings on leadership and a new series of Outdoor Leadership Training curriculum videos, we brought stewardship to hikers across Washington.
The growing demand for trails and close-in greenspaces highlighted ways in which our current trail system is struggling to keep pace, and that not everyone has easy access to the outdoors. Work that we started before the pandemic has taken on new weight this year, and our four campaigns are focused on ensuring a future where there are trails for everyone, forever. Together we can create a trail system that we can all be proud of and a community where everyone feels welcome — and together we took steps to get closer to that reality.
Our Trail Next Door campaign is helping ensure that nature is always in reach by working in neighborhood parks and collaborating with partners to increase access to green spaces across Washington.
Our Trails Rebooted campaign is finding solutions to support popular recreation areas by improving existing trails, championing the construction of new ones and helping hikers see the role they play in the future of trails. In many parts of the state, use of popular trails went up by 50% this year, and we were there to support these trails.
Our Lost Trails Found campaign is working to save trails that are at risk of disappearing completely — preserving access to our stunning backcountry for generations to come. Through your generous support, boots-on-the-ground volunteer trail maintenance, voices in Congress and innovative partnerships, we are putting trails back on the map. This year we made some exciting progress in the long-term protection of our backcountry treasures:
Everyone deserves to enjoy the benefits of nature and to have safe and welcoming experiences on trail. Unfortunately, outdoor spaces are not as safe, accessible or welcoming for everyone, as they should be. We have reaffirmed our commitment to change this with the launch of our Trails for Everyone campaign.
Thank you to our 25,000 members who helped make all of this work possible in 2020. If trails were here for you this year please consider donating to WTA. Your support will enable us to do even more for the hiking community in the year ahead!