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
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.