What a productive year it has been at Washington Trails Association! Hikers have rallied to save Mount Si and DNR lands from legislative budget cuts, turned out in record numbers to WTA trail maintenance work parties and have made wta.org their go-to source for hiking information.
Check out WTA's accomplishments for 2010 below, then think about what you could do in 2011 to help trails. You might become a member of WTA for the first time, or volunteer on a work party or attend Hiker Lobby Day in February. And to everyone who volunteered, made a gift or wrote to their legislator in 2010, thank you!
Volunteer Trail Work Exceeded 100,000 Hours
- More than 2500 volunteers worked at least one day on trail in 2010, contributing more than 104,000 hours of work on 148 trails in Washington. We worked throughout the state - from Larrabee State Park near Bellingham to the Salmo-Priest Wilderness near Idaho, from the Hoh River in Olympic National Park to the Carbon River in Mount Rainier National Park - with volunteer crews based not only in the Central Puget Sound, but also in Bellingham, Spokane, Vancouver and the Olympics.
- For the first time, WTA designated nine signature trails for special attention: West Fork Foss, Loowit, Robinson Creek Bridge, Pratt Connector, Guemes Mountain, Cape Horn, South Coast Wilderness Trail, Notch Pass Trail, and Salmo-Priest Loop. The Loowit Trail was particularly rewarding, as the much-needed work restored access for hikers wishing to circle Mount St. Helens. On the West Fork Foss Trail in the Skykomish District, WTA volunteers turned out for 19 work parties to address severe flood damage from 2006. They constructed new trail, prepared the way for a future bridge and cleared avalanche debris.
- As we wrap-up 2010, we will have completed more than 570 one-day work parties - nearly a year and a half of non-stop trail work! Our largest projects supported by one-day trips have been the Glacier Basin Trail relocation project at Mount Rainier National Park, allowing the park to reopen a new section of trail, and 48 days building the new Pratt River Connector Trail, connecting the Middle Fork Snoqualmie and Pratt River trails. We've also spent considerable time building the "WTA Bridge" and new boardwalk at Grand Ridge Park near Issaquah, as well as a new trail at Beacon Rock State Park.
- Volunteers put in nearly 29,000 hours of backcountry work on 29 week-long adult Volunteer Vacations, 16 week-long youth Volunteer Vacations and 31 three-to-five day Backcountry Response Teams (BCRTs). Teams of volunteers built bridges and rock walls, cleared brush and logs from trails and other maintenance that improved or restored access to hundreds of miles of backcountry hiking trails.
WTA & Hiker Pressure Restored Funding to DNR
- We saved Mount Si! When budget cuts threatened the closure of Mount Si, Lake Spokane and other favorite hikes on Department of Natural Resources land, WTA and hikers advocated for these places - and won! The highlight was WTA biggest Hiker Lobby Day ever, where 75 hikers met with their legislators in Olympia.
New Online Features Serve Hiker Needs
- The Hiking Guide on wta.org added new content for snowshoers and hikers in Eastern Washington. The Mountaineers Books and their guidebook authors Dan Nelson and Alan Bauer donated the content from Snowshoe Routes Washington and Best Desert Hikes Washington. Combined with the content from the Day Hiking books, wta.org has 900 hiking guide entries from Mountaineers Books.
- Like maps? Wta.org's Hike Finder debuted in May, and allows hikers to search for hikes via an interactive map.
- How about conditions from the trail? More than 3600 Trip Reports have been filed in 2010 from hikers all across the state, 1000 more than the year before. WTA connects hikers with the information they need to plan their trips, stay safe and share their experiences.
- Sure, you can find hikers on the trail, but did you know you can also find them on Facebook? With nearly 12,000 fans on Facebook and 2,000 followers on Twitter, WTA is using these tools to connect hikers with news from the trail, how to stay safe, and great ideas about where to go.
WTA Youth Programs Connect Kids with the Outdoors
- More than 10% of WTA's volunteer trail maintenance was done by kids 18 and under in 2010. Nearly 8900 hours came by way of summer Youth Volunteer Vacations - a hugely popular program where high school students spend a week at a time improving our trails. Another 3300 hours of work came from individual youth and community youth groups volunteering a day or two at a time. See where they worked!
- WTA did more than ever to introduce kids and families to hiking, including offering improved online resources for families and a popular spring Families Go Hiking workshop series for Puget Sound-area families. In the first year of a pilot program called Steps into Wilderness, WTA partnered with four Seattle-based community organizations to introduce more kids to hiking.