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Why Urban Trails?

See why urban trails are a key part of a healthy and sustainable trail system.

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

What Do You Want From Seattle Parks? Let Them Know

Sep 29, 2021

The city of Seattle's Parks and Recreation Department wants to hear from you to help them shape their priorities for the coming years.

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Trails Next Door Are Always There For Me

Aug 24, 2021

The way I hike has been altered drastically, but my enjoyment of nature is unchanged.

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Take This Survey — And Help Make King County Parks More Equitable

Jul 22, 2021

King County Parks is soliciting community feedback via survey on priorities, needs and barriers related to park, trail and natural area access.

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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.

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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.

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5 Things I Learned After a Year Using Car Shares to Hike

May 10, 2021

Today is my one-year anniversary of the first hike I did using a carshare program. Hiking using car-share programs is totally doable, and depending on how often you hike (and other demands you may have to consider), using car shares may even be more cost-effective than owning. Here's what I've learned in a year of hiking sans car.

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