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Volunteer News

Washington Trails Association news about volunteers and trail maintenance on The Signpost Blog.

Washington Trails Association news about volunteers and trail maintenance on The Signpost Blog.

You can also meet our hardworking crew leaders, and see standout volunteers at the Rock Wall of Fame.

Planning for the Future of Trails Means Planning for Fires

Dec 17, 2021

Not every landscape or wildfire is the same. Depending on how hot the fire burns, there are different impacts to the environment. Just as each fire and landscape is unique, the on-the-ground response can be just as varied.

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Rebooting Popular Trails for Year Round Hiking in Hood Canal

Nov 29, 2021

This summer, WTA's volunteer crews provided urgent maintenance to some of the Hood Canal’s most loved trails in order to ensure that these trails are accessible and safe for all users.

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Favorite Volunteer Memories of 2021

Nov 19, 2021

As 2021 comes to a close, we asked volunteers to share some of their best moments on trail with us. From learning new skills and self-reliance to rejoining the volunteer community, we're thrilled to hear what you remember from this year on trail.

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Celebrating a Successful Return to Youth Volunteer Vacations

Nov 17, 2021

Thanks to a lot of careful planning and hard work, we had a safe and fun summer with teen volunteers — and we got a lot of work done, too! And we're already looking ahead to next year.

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You Can Be an Assistant Crew Leader

Oct 22, 2021

Our assistant crew leaders make trail work parties possible — and you can be one of them.

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Volunteers Connect the Dots on the Pacific Northwest Trail

Oct 20, 2021

During our 2021 summer season, our volunteers worked on 11 unique sections of the Pacific Northwest Trail, working across the state to keep this oft-remote route up to national scenic trail standards.

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Breaking Ground on Independence Pass

Oct 05, 2021

For just over a decade, sections of the Independence Pass trail have been lost to treacherous washouts that prevent hikers from travelling its full length. Now, WTA and partners are working to bring it back.

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WTA's Pro Crew Finishes up Incredible Season

Oct 18, 2021

After 71 days and 4,243 hours of trail maintenance, WTA's first backcountry pro crew is wrapping up their packed season of trail work within the Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest!

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Exploring the State Through Volunteering

Sep 08, 2021

Our varied, far-reaching volunteer opportunities have the added benefit of giving volunteers a fun opportunity to see and explore new parts of Washington.

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The Power of Loops & Connections

Jul 19, 2021

Creating trail systems that allow for loops makes a better experience for hikers — and it’s easier on the land, too.

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Volunteer Profile: Jade Tabony — Data Scientist, Outdoor Adventurer & Cheez-It Enthusiast

Jul 08, 2021

We talk technology, slacklining and what it's like to give back to a cause you care about.

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New Loops, New Hikes, New Views in the Columbia River Gorge

Jul 02, 2021

Thanks to a partnership between Washington Trails Association and Friends of the Columbia Gorge Land Trust, the trail system at the land trust’s Lyle Cherry Orchard Preserve has been improved.

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Reviving an Old Route to the Pratt

Jul 13, 2021

WTA has been hosting annual work parties and Backcountry Response Teams along the Pratt River Trail since 2016 as a part of our Lost Trails Found campaign. We're working to save this alternate access point into the Alpine Lakes Wilderness and ensure plenty of hiking opportunities in a place that needs it most.

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Volunteer Profile: Doris Wang

Jun 22, 2021

Doris is a well of positive energy. She came to WTA after a friend introduced her to trail work parties, and since then has brought her friends and her husband to trail work, and been a fantastic trail ambassador on social media. We asked her a few questions about why she likes volunteering and what keeps her engaged in WTA's community.

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Meet WTA's Backcountry Pro Crew

Jun 03, 2021

This summer, WTA is excited to welcome our first professional backcountry crew! The six-person crew will spend the next few months improving trails within three stunning wilderness areas on the Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest. They'll be working on hard-to-reach areas that don't see regular maintenance.

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Passion Projects Bring WTA Volunteers Back to Favorite Trails

Jun 01, 2021

Our volunteers often find themselves replacing worn-out structures, rebuilding tread or even rerouting trails built by WTA crews who came before them. We’re grateful for the volunteers who were part of those original crews and continue to go back, over and over again, to maintain the projects they started.

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Virtual Classroom: Crew Leader College Moves (Partially) Online

May 05, 2021

This weekend marks the beginning of WTA's 2021 Crew Leader College, a chance to help our crew leaders and assistant crew leaders refine their skills. Here's how we're adapting this year to share new learning about trail work, all while keeping everyone safe.

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Centering Community Helped Build a Strong Urban Trail System in Bellingham

Apr 19, 2021

Fourteen years of work by WTA and our partners have transformed an urban trail system in Bellingham.

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Learning and Growing on WTA's Volunteer Vacations

Apr 14, 2021

We caught up with volunteers from years past to see how the skills they gained have helped them with new adventures.

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Volunteer Spotlight: Gabrielle Matheison

Apr 06, 2021

Volunteers are key for WTA, and we appreciate however people engage with WTA. Some folks like to stick to trail work, some stick to trip reports, some do both. While volunteering has been complicated by the pandemic, Gabrielle Matheisen, a trip reporter and trail crew volunteer, made it work.

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Hiker Headlines: Funding, National Park Projects, Pro-Crew, Sno-Park Fee Increase

Mar 25, 2021

It’s March 25. Money from the Land and Water Conservation Fund will go to important conservation projects in Washington. North Cascades National Park announced plans to reroute a section of Stehekin Road, and in Olympic National Park a new entrance station will improve traffic flow. WTA is hiring for our first paid, pro trail-work crew. State Parks announced that Sno-Park fees will increase starting next winter. Here’s some news you may have missed while out on trail this week.

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Youth Volunteer Vacations: What You Need to Know for 2021

Mar 16, 2021

At WTA, we know that the disruptions, stress and social isolation of the previous year makes outdoor opportunities for teens more important than ever. WTA is excited to resume our Youth Volunteer Vacation program in 2021, where youth ages 14-18 build trails and community together in beautiful places across Washington state.

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Volunteer Crew Leaders Step Up to Help WTA and Each Other

Mar 09, 2021

In addition to WTA’s regular seasonal staff, 27 volunteers stepped up to lead trail work parties this past summer — making space for 2,200 more volunteers to engage in trail work.

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From Awe to Ah-Hah!: 4 Advocates Realize the Power of Their Voices for Trails

Mar 11, 2021

When did you realize that trails don’t just appear in the woods? Or that your favorite trail probably exists in part thanks to hikers like you? If you haven't had that "ah-hah!" moment yet, it's understandable. The path towards establishing and protecting trails is winding (much like those trails we love so much). But in the same way that you can lay the foundation for memorable summer adventures by tuning into permit season each year in February, hikers like you can help build a lifetime of adventure by consistently participating in advocacy work.

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Hiker Headlines: Clean Boots, Permits, Interior Secretary, Volunteer Safety

Feb 25, 2021

It’s February 25. Permit applications for many of Washington’s most popular recreation areas are either open now or will be soon. Confirmation hearings for Interior Secretary are ongoing. Learn what hikers can do to stop the spread of invasive species. And, it’s a good time to revisit safety guidelines if you’re thinking of volunteering on trail.

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Shoring Up the Neighborhood Trails that Provide Everyday Escapes

Feb 24, 2021

WTA is hard at work making sure urban parks all over Washington are getting the love they deserve, including a recent project in Tacoma.

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Hiker Headlines: New Sno-Park, Backcountry Trips, Take Action, Climate Plan

Jan 28, 2021

It’s January 28. A new Sno-Park was just announced. Sign up for WTA’s volunteer backcountry trips is almost here, with a few changes. New ways to take action for trails. And, the President lays out a plan for climate and conservation. Here’s some news you may have missed while out on trail this week.

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Get Ready for WTA's 2021 Backcountry Trips

Jan 26, 2021

Join WTA this summer. Backpack to a gorgeous place, do some trail work, and feel good about helping Washington's trail be some of the best.

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Thank You, Land Managers!

Jan 08, 2021

Without our agency partners, we wouldn’t have trails to work on.

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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.

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