WTA spent a lot of time in 2019 listening to partners, community based organizations and people who love hiking in urban spaces. But we were also getting work done on the ground, too. In 2019, WTA volunteers contributed more than 7,000 hours of work to urban trails and parks.
In addition to trail work, we've also made our Hiking Guide more robust so you can find your next nearby hike a little easier. In total, we have over 140 urban hikes in the guide, and that number continues to grow. And, thanks to hikers like you, those hikes have over 12,000 trip reports on them, which means you have access to the latest conditions on the trail from people who have visited them recently!
Take a look at some of the other things we've been up to in the early stages of The Trail Next Door below.
MAINTAINING AND BUILDING URBAN TRAILS
McKinley Park (pictured above) is one of the oldest parks in Tacoma. And, as it's right next to I-5, it provides easy access to an oasis of green in the middle of a heavily-developed area. It features lots of trees and wide trails, as well as a nice playground for kids. A few dozen volunteers joined us in 2019 to help improve trails for hikers in the park.
In the fall of 2019, we returned to Bainbridge Island and the Japanese American Exclusion Memorial for a youth and families work party. This was our second year working at the memorial to support restoration efforts in partnership with Northwest Youth Corps and the National Parks Conservation Association. Volunteers removed invasive plants, planted tress and designed horticultural displays. This project shows that sometimes trail work itself isn't the only thing green spaces need to thrive.
LEARNING FROM OTHER ORGANIZATIONS
WTA partnered with GirlTrek and the U.S. Forest Service in 2019 to learn more about what benefits people enjoy from walking outside and how to make it easier for more people to get out on trail. In October, we hiked together in Swan Creek Park in Tacoma where we discussed the different aspects of what people want to know about urban hikes, which varies widely from information that is relevant to backcountry hiking experiences.
As we developed The Trail Next Door, we spent time in the field with staff from King County Parks who work to acquire land and green spaces. They shared with us how they prioritize what land to buy that best serves the communities they work in. They hope to maximize the impact of new spaces by looking for properties that are in areas that are low income, have a higher-than-average rate of health disparities and where many people are within a 10-minute walk of the green space. We supported the King County Parks levy last year to help ensure the parks department has the resources it needs to do the important work of expanding access to nature and green spaces across the county.
see what else we're working on
Where the Sidewalk Ends: Finding Gaps in the Trail Network
Jun 02, 2021
Putting a focus on trails and other ways for people to safely move around urban areas can make for a stronger trail system and a healthier community. Having nature nearby is one thing — but getting to it safely is another. A new state effort is working to eliminate gaps that make it hard for walkers, bikers or wheelchair users to get around.
WTA Volunteers Create Easier Access to Green Space in Vancouver
May 13, 2021
As part of our Trails Next Door work, WTA volunteers recently completed work in the Blandford Canyon Greenway. The trail reroute makes it easier to access the green space near Vancouver.
Why (And How) My Family Makes Time for Hiking Together
May 04, 2021
My family and I love being able to enjoy nature together. But when plans interfere with our daily life, connecting with nature and communicating with each other in a fun way sometimes fall to the wayside. As a WTA youth ambassador, however, I know how important it is to spend time outside.
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.
WTA Helps Build Access to Green Space with New Trail in King County
Apr 16, 2021
Over the last year, WTA has been working with King County Parks to plan for the opening of a new forested park in unincorporated North Highline in Seattle. Last month, WTA’s Leadership & Inclusion Crew spent two days at the new park working on trail layout and design. When it's complete, the trail will provide the community access to a green space.
UW's Nature and Health Group Talks Time Outside
Mar 22, 2021
What researchers are discovering about how and why being outside is so good for us.