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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

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.

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Throw Wide the Gates: Why Gatekeeping is Harmful to Hikers

Oct 01, 2019

Trails are for everyone, but not everyone feels welcome. Here are tips to be a more inclusive hiker.

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Celebrating Partnership: WTA and King County Parks

Jun 27, 2019

On Monday, WTA staff joined King County Executive Dow Constantine for a hike on the Margaret’s Way trail. The trail is a strong example of what can happen when a government agency like King County Parks teams up with a non-profit organization like WTA.

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Fourth Graders, Fifth Graders and Fun: WTA Youth Ambassador Leads Classroom Hikes

May 23, 2019

The Youth Ambassador Program gives leadership training opportunities to teens, who use their skills to plan trails-related projects in their own communities.

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The Beauty and Power of Urban Forests

Apart from the pleasure of a green view, there are many tangible benefits associated with urban forests, including improved mental and physical health, economic advantages and community health, all of which affect each other | by Keiko Betcher

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2019 Accomplishments: How Hikers Changed Trails for the Better this Year

2019 was a year to celebrate for Washington trails. Hikers all across the state have helped WTA fix trails, advocate for funding and ensure access to the trails we all love. Thank you for helping us build a future where there are trails for everyone, forever.

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