WTA spent a lot of time in 2019 listening to partners, community based organizations and people who love hiking in urban spaces. But we were also getting work done on the ground, too. In 2019, WTA volunteers contributed more than 7,000 hours of work to urban trails and parks.
In addition to trail work, we've also made our Hiking Guide more robust so you can find your next nearby hike a little easier. In total, we have over 140 urban hikes in the guide, and that number continues to grow. And, thanks to hikers like you, those hikes have over 12,000 trip reports on them, which means you have access to the latest conditions on the trail from people who have visited them recently!
Take a look at some of the other things we've been up to in the early stages of The Trail Next Door below.
MAINTAINING AND BUILDING URBAN TRAILS
McKinley Park (pictured above) is one of the oldest parks in Tacoma. And, as it's right next to I-5, it provides easy access to an oasis of green in the middle of a heavily-developed area. It features lots of trees and wide trails, as well as a nice playground for kids. A few dozen volunteers joined us in 2019 to help improve trails for hikers in the park.
In the fall of 2019, we returned to Bainbridge Island and the Japanese American Exclusion Memorial for a youth and families work party. This was our second year working at the memorial to support restoration efforts in partnership with Northwest Youth Corps and the National Parks Conservation Association. Volunteers removed invasive plants, planted tress and designed horticultural displays. This project shows that sometimes trail work itself isn't the only thing green spaces need to thrive.
LEARNING FROM OTHER ORGANIZATIONS
WTA partnered with GirlTrek and the U.S. Forest Service in 2019 to learn more about what benefits people enjoy from walking outside and how to make it easier for more people to get out on trail. In October, we hiked together in Swan Creek Park in Tacoma where we discussed the different aspects of what people want to know about urban hikes, which varies widely from information that is relevant to backcountry hiking experiences.
As we developed The Trail Next Door, we spent time in the field with staff from King County Parks who work to acquire land and green spaces. They shared with us how they prioritize what land to buy that best serves the communities they work in. They hope to maximize the impact of new spaces by looking for properties that are in areas that are low income, have a higher-than-average rate of health disparities and where many people are within a 10-minute walk of the green space. We supported the King County Parks levy last year to help ensure the parks department has the resources it needs to do the important work of expanding access to nature and green spaces across the county.
see what else we're working on
A Trail of Memories
I found joy on epic adventures with my dad. Now I'm finding that same joy exploring close to home with my own children | By Andrea Laughery
Trail Work 101: An Easy Intro for New Volunteers
Feb 18, 2020
Curious what trail work is about? Come join us to learn how to maintain trails in a low-key supportive environment.
Trails: Good for Hikers. Good for Communities. Good for the Economy.
A new scientific study shows that trails give back to the state by boosting the economy and improving people's physical and mental health | By Jessi Loerch
The Trail Next Door: Because Nature Should Always be in Reach
How WTA is working to ensure that everyone has easy access to trails and green spaces | By Allie Tripp
We Fix 'Em, You Hike 'Em: 8 Trails WTA Has Already Refreshed in 2020
Jan 21, 2020
WTA's trail maintenance program has been busy this month. We kicked off 2020 by breaking ground on brand new trails and continuing work on dozens of other trails. We even had a ribbon-cutting — broadening a trail network trail that hikers already loved.
New Year, New State Legislative Session: Our Big Goals for 2020 and How You Can Help
Jan 13, 2020
The 2020 legislative session is now in session. Learn about WTA's budget priorities for the upcoming year.