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Advancing Trail Smarts

Supporting trails is not just about the much-needed trail maintenance and additional investment. It’s also about hiker awareness, transportation access, trip-reported conditions and so much more. We need targeted education to improve on-trail experiences and help hikers discover brand-new adventures.

Supporting trails isn't just about doing trail maintenance and increased funding. It’s also about hiker awareness.  Transportation, road access, trip-reported conditions and so much more all help make a healthy trail system.

All of this requires targeted education to improve your on-trail experiences and help you lessen your impact on the places you love. If you haven’t seen our Trail Smarts video series, now's a great time to check it out. These tools provide quick refreshers on some of the most important hiking best practices.

Fun fact: Trip reports aren't just good for planning your next hike. They are critical to land managers as they make decisions and plan for the future needs of hikers. Write one today!


Masks, Trash & Parking: 3 Easy Ways to Lead by Example on Every Hike

Aug 22, 2020

Every time you lace up your hiking shoes and head out on trail, it's an opportunity to help keep the outdoors a refuge during tough times. Here are some easy ways to lead by example, keep it positive and create the outdoor community of your dreams.

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Hiker Headlines: Input For Trails, Fire Season, GAOA Signed Into Law

Aug 05, 2020

It’s August 6. With the celebration of Washington Trails Day and the Great American Outdoors Act being signed into law, trails have been in the spotlight this week. Land managers across the state are looking for community input on a variety of proposed projects. And it’s the season of fires and road construction, so check conditions and plan ahead to avoid inconvenient delays.

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Inspiration and Advice for Getting Out on Trail with Kids

Jul 31, 2020

Time on trail with kids can create magical memories that last a lifetime. Here are some tips from members of our community on how to get out with your own kids.

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How to Use Trekking Poles

If you already use trekking poles, you probably understand why they can be so helpful for hikers of all interests and abilities. If you haven’t ever tried them, they’re well worth considering. We talked to Brandon Winchell, a hiker and doctor of physical therapy in Edmonds, for some information on the value of trekking poles — and some advice on how to use them properly.

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How to Find Your Balance on Trail

With practice, you can improve your stability on trail — making for safer and more comfortable hiking

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Building Trail Smart Hikers in 2020

Jul 17, 2020

From a nationwide coalition to an email series, we're helping hikers learn responsible hiking skills in innovative ways in 2020.

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Hiker Headlines: Fire Safety, Hike-a-Thon, Inclusive Trails, National Park Re-openings

Jul 02, 2020

It's July 2. We all need to keep safety in mind right now — from fires to fireworks. And while we're at it, let's also keep each other safe and welcome everyone on trail. You can now register for WTA's Hike-aThon! National parks continue to open up more options for exploring. And a bill in Congress offers some good news for road access to trailheads. Here's some news you might have missed wile out on trail this week.

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How to Use the Bathroom Outside

We all pee. We all poop. And we can all learn skills to make the whole process easier and more responsible while out hiking.

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Day Hike Packing List

Say you're heading out to spend some time in your local greenspace or going on a short hike a little further from home. Use this list to pack for a hike if you're going somewhere you can quickly access emergency services.

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Hiking With Critters, Large and Small: What You Need to Know

May 12, 2020

Wildlife encounters on trail can be a source of awe or … itching. Here are a few of the wild creatures people routinely ask us about and tips on how to make potential encounters as positive as possible.

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10 Trip Reporters who are Hiking Smart

May 11, 2020

As public lands begin to reopen, hikers are starting to get out a bit farther from home. Here are some highlights from recent trip reports.

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FAQ: What Hikers Need To Know For May 5 Reopening of State Lands

May 04, 2020

Washington's state lands and trails will be reopening to hiking on May 5. Here's what hikers need to know before they go to get outdoors safely and responsibly.

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Turning the Dial: State Lands Will Reopen to Hiking

Apr 27, 2020

State lands are reopening, but hiking will look different for a little while. Pack a few extra supplies (like masks, extra toilet paper and hand-sanitizer), skip that post-hike beer, and be more willing to head to a different trailhead if your first choice is busy.

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Plan Now, Hike Later

Apr 14, 2020

Take some time now to daydream about your adventures that await you. Then plan it all out.

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What Do I Need for a Close-to-Home Hike?

Mar 17, 2020

For a walk in your local greenspace, packing along the Ten Essentials may feel like overkill — but then where does that lead us?

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