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Home Our Work The Trail Next Door Why Urban Trails?

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

From Mud to Magnificent: How WTA Helped Transform a Neighborhood Park

Mar 21, 2023

WTA, in partnership with other groups, helps transform the muddy trails in Whipple Creek Park into a neighborhood greenspace fit for year-round use by hikers, bikers, equestrians and more.

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WTA Loves Local Trails

Mar 13, 2023

Check out this roundup of local hike trip reports across the state from our February #LoveLocalTrails giveaway.

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How to Embrace a Beginner’s Mindset for New Outdoor Skills

Whether you’re expanding your outdoor skill repertoire, recently moved to Washington, or are new to the outdoors as a whole, these eight tips can help bolster your self-confidence, bring you closer to your companions and create space for maximum fun. By Linnea Johnson

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Five Reasons to Take a Winter Hike Next Door

Feb 24, 2023

Winter hikes close to home offer new perspectives during the colder months.

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Hiker Headlines: Free Day, Mount Rainier Permits, Great Backyard Bird Count

Feb 16, 2023

Monday is Presidents Day, and parking fees in some areas will be waived. The Mount Rainier National Park early access reservation lottery opens on Feb. 21. Part of the Cowiche Canyon Preserve has been permanently closed. The Great Backyard Bird Count is this weekend. And, be prepared for snow this weekend.

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Why We Love Winter Trail Work

Feb 15, 2023

Trail work is a year-round endeavor for WTA. Winter lends itself to work on the Trails Next Door campaign, which focuses on trails close to urban communities. Joining a work party isn't just an opportunity to work on trails — it's a chance to build community.

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