Meeting Hikers' Needs: 5 Wins for Trails
We recently asked the hiking community which trails needed the attention of our Trails Rebooted campaign. Here are five trails you mentioned and what WTA is doing to improve the hiking experience on them.
In May, Washington Trails Association launched Trails Rebooted, a campaign to support our popular recreation areas by improving existing trails, championing the construction of new trails and helping hikers see the role they play in the building the trail system of the future.
As part of our work on this campaign, we looked at the iconic trails where investment made the most sense. We researched where people hike and why. We also asked you what iconic trails you thought needed our attention. We were thrilled to see that your suggestions lined up with places we're already investing in.
Below are five trail system improvements you suggested, and a summary of the work that's already in progress.
Suggested improvement: Make it a loop going one-way.
Done: Great news; you can already loop this! Thanks to investment from our partners at the Department of Natural Resources (who manage the Mount Si NRCA) and Trailhead Direct, there are a couple of ways to loop Mount Si. Try this hike, which starts from the Mount Teneriffe trailhead and ends at the Mount Si trailhead (both serviced by Trailhead Direct).
In fact, there are a multitude of loop options available in this area. Take a look at the maps found at the trailhead and key intersections in this area and plot your own route. Then let us know how you liked it in a trip report!
Duckabush River to Upper Duckabush
Suggested improvement: Brush out and clear downed trees
Done: While the Upper Duckabush definitely falls more into our Lost Trails Found work, you can't get to that remote area without using feeder trails like the Duckabush River Trail. We work on the Duckabush River Trail every year, and this summer was no different.
Three backcountry response team trips cleared fallen logs and maintained the iconic Duckabush River trail. Just just last weekend, a fourth volunteer crew returned from a trip into the Upper Duckabush area. The crew removed nearly 40 trees, including one that was four feet in diameter, and cleared more than 4 miles of brush.
Suggested improvement: Improve hiker education around right-of-way and alternate trails to explore.
In Progress: Since 1966, hiker education has been a part of WTA's work. And for the last three years, WTA has been sharing Trails Smarts tips with the community. Covering everything from seasonal safety to basic preparedness, hikers can learn the best practices of hiking Washington's trail, from how to share the trail with other users, and what to bring in order to have a successful outing.
At events and on our website, we're always helping connect hikers to a new trail to explore. Creating a My Backpack account on wta.org is a great way to make the most of our Hiking Guide, Hike Finder Map, and WTA's Trailblazer App. And we're always looking to help you plan the perfect hike or find a new seasonal alternative.
Squire Creek Pass via Eight-mile Trail
Suggested improvement: Clear and maintain the Eight-mile Trail
In Progress: We're working on this right now, and you can be part of the solution! We've had a few day work parties already this year (see above photo), and you can join us on Aug. 14 or 15 on the Eight-mile Trail.
Just outside of Darrington, the Eight-mile Trail is found along the Mountain Loop Highway, one of the WTA pilot areas for Trails Rebooted. Making trails like Eight-mile more sustainable gives hikers alternatives to the area's well-traveled favorites.
Tolmie Peak (Mount Rainier)
Suggested Improvement: Transportation and facilities to handle increased visitorship
In Progress: As visitorship increases at this iconic park, both park staff and partners like WTA are thinking about how to improve access while maintaining the nature of the park experience. Last week, WTA attended a pre-planning meeting with the National Park Service at Mount Rainier with partner organizations, local businesses and other stakeholders to discuss priorities and a vision for managing park congestion on roads and trails in the coming years.
WTA is honored to represent hiker interests at these (and future) meetings, and we are excited about working with partners and the park to generate innovative solutions that protect both hiker access and the special environment of Mount Rainier.