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Why Urban Trails?

See why urban trails are a key part of a healthy and sustainable trail system.

Trails in cities and urban centers are a critical piece of our state's trail system. They boast many of the things we look for in the backcountry — fresh air, wildlife and the greenery our Evergreen State is famous for — often with a fraction of the time commitment. Many can be accessed by public transportation or require no transportation at all. And they're great places not only to hike, but to spend time with friends and family, exercise or commute — often on a daily basis.

But there's a problem. Most of our urban green spaces and trails are concentrated in affluent parts of Washington's cities. We believe everyone deserves access to these places to enjoy green space, get exercise or simply connect with other people. The benefits of time in nature are undeniable, and urban trails and parks make it that much easier for more people to access those benefits.

With The Trail Next Door, we're building on the successes of our other campaigns, Lost Trails Found and Trails Rebooted. Together, the three campaigns will help build a healthy, sustainable trail system from neighborhood parks all the way to remote backcountry trails. And just as one trail work project might require a shovel while another needs a crosscut saw, supporting close-in trails will require different tools than caring for remote trails. We are excited to deepen our partnerships in urban spaces over the course of the next year and learn how we can best increase access to urban trails and improve folks' experiences on them.

  See what we're up to next door

Teaching on Trail: Custom Workshops For Educators of Youth

Jan 06, 2020

Through workshops, a free gear library and trip funding, the OLT program provides customized training for educators who want to take youth groups outside.

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I Picked Up 80 Pounds of Trail Trash in a Year. Here's What I Learned

Dec 30, 2019

If you're looking for hiking resolutions for 2020, here's what I learned from a year of collecting 80 lbs of light sabers, orange peels and water bottles.

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10 Things WTA is Thankful For

Nov 27, 2019

When Washington spins into winter, the dark days can be challenging to endure. Fewer hours of daylight make it hard to get outside, but we believe it's a good time to reflect on how much we have to be thankful for: pikas, toilets, and a community who cares about each other.

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Trail Champions in the House: Meet Five Leading Women in Washington's Legislature

Nov 06, 2019

This fall, we hiked with five Washington state representatives on trails in their home districts. We recently walked and talked outdoor recreation, physical health and economic benefits with Representatives Entenman, Jinkins, Leavitt, Robinson and Ryu.

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Hiker Headlines: New Trail Opens, Grizzly Bears, Road Closure and Outdoor Preschools

Oct 03, 2019

It's Thursday, Oct. 3. WTA helped open up a new section of trail at Lake Whatcom Park. The public has a chance to comment on a plan to reintroduce grizzly bears to the North Cascades. Washington state is the first in the U.S. to license outdoor preschools. Washington State Parks has been honored as one of the best. And a new bill in the U.S. House could help get more people outside.

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Throw Wide the Gates: Why Gatekeeping is Harmful to Hikers

Oct 01, 2019

Trails are for everyone, but not everyone feels welcome. Here are tips to be a more inclusive hiker.

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