Why Urban Trails?
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
Bringing Nature Closer to Home in Southwest Washington
Dec 30, 2020
WTA has been helping to make Ridgefield National Wildlife Refuge into an easily accessible bit of nature. Thanks to a new path that offers a safe walking route, hikers now have two different ways to walk to the refuge from downtown Ridgefield. And those two routes can even be combined to create a 5-mile loop.
Creating More Open Space in Cities
Sep 03, 2020
Street closures have made it clear that we need room for people to move and enjoy green spaces in urban areas.
A Trail System at Work
Trail networks — which form endless loop and thru hike possibilities — can help us create the hiking experiences of our dreams | By Rachel Wendling
Making Nature Accessible in Urban Areas
Jul 23, 2020
See how WTA is working with local neighborhoods and King County Parks to bring a new urban green space and trails to Seattle.
Apps WTA is Loving Right Now
Jun 14, 2020
Apps on our phone are not only a way to connect to each other, they’re also a way to connect to nature. Right now, our phones are a lifeline for many to the broader world and the people we love. They can also serve as a bit of necessary rest and a way to connect with the natural world. From flora and fauna to running and, of course, hiking, here are some apps that WTA staff members are loving right now.
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?