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
New Year, New State Legislative Session: Our Big Goals for 2020 and How You Can Help
Jan 13, 2020
The 2020 legislative session is now in session. Learn about WTA's budget priorities for the upcoming year.
Teaching on Trail: Custom Workshops For Educators of Youth
Jan 06, 2020
Through workshops, a free gear library and trip funding, the OLT program provides customized training for educators who want to take youth groups outside.
I Picked Up 80 Pounds of Trail Trash in a Year. Here's What I Learned
Dec 30, 2019
If you're looking for hiking resolutions for 2020, here's what I learned from a year of collecting 80 lbs of light sabers, orange peels and water bottles.
10 Things WTA is Thankful For
Nov 27, 2019
When Washington spins into winter, the dark days can be challenging to endure. Fewer hours of daylight make it hard to get outside, but we believe it's a good time to reflect on how much we have to be thankful for: pikas, toilets, and a community who cares about each other.
Trail Champions in the House: Meet Five Leading Women in Washington's Legislature
Nov 06, 2019
This fall, we hiked with five Washington state representatives on trails in their home districts. We recently walked and talked outdoor recreation, physical health and economic benefits with Representatives Entenman, Jinkins, Leavitt, Robinson and Ryu.
Hiker Headlines: New Trail Opens, Grizzly Bears, Road Closure and Outdoor Preschools
Oct 03, 2019
It's Thursday, Oct. 3. WTA helped open up a new section of trail at Lake Whatcom Park. The public has a chance to comment on a plan to reintroduce grizzly bears to the North Cascades. Washington state is the first in the U.S. to license outdoor preschools. Washington State Parks has been honored as one of the best. And a new bill in the U.S. House could help get more people outside.