Improving Trail Experiences
Trails are the backbone of outdoor adventure and recreation in Washington. From protecting your favorite weekday escape or the backcountry experience of sleeping under the stars in one of Washington's wilderness areas, WTA advocates for new trail systems across the state and works to protect the wild places that surround the trails we love.
Current Trail Priorities
Advocating for hiking trails on the Teanaway Community Forest
Background: Washington's largest single land purchase in the past 45 years was completed in 2013 when the state bought the 50,000-acre lands now call the Teanaway Community Forest. Currently the community forest does not have a designated trail system.
- As a member of the forest's Advisory Committee, WTA is working with Washington State Department of Natural Resources (DNR) and the Washington State Department of Fish and Wildlife (agencies which jointly manage the land) to develop recommendations for the forest's management plan.
- WTA is advocating for a robust hiking trail system on the forest.
Creating trail plans to meet the demand of Washington's hikers
The challenge: By the year 2040, Washington state's population is expected to increase by 2 million people. Currently about 8 out of every 10 Washingtonians got outside at a county, city or state park in the past year. Yet according to the 2013 Washington State Comprehensive Outdoor Recreation Plan, current facilities, including trails, can only satisfy 30 to 40 percent of the demand for recreation across the state.
- WTA is working with land managers across the state to develop trail plans that ensure rich, equitable hiking opportunities for the future. We are currently working on trail planning projects along the Columbia Gorge, in Bellingham and in North Central Washington.
Managing wilderness within Mount Rainier National Park
Background: Mount Rainier National Park is currently considering updating its wilderness plan, which could impact the hiking experience in some of the park's most pristine areas. Wilderness trails at Mount Rainier have become increasingly popular, putting some beloved trails under pressure. Hearing from hikers about the future wilderness plan will help the National Park Service strike a balance between preserving Mount Rainier's beauty and environmental integrity with access for trail lovers.
- WTA will continue to monitor the planning process and offer comments on any proposals presented by the National Park Service.
Innovative solutions to partnerships and our recreation pass system
Background: After collecting comments from constituents last fall, Senator Ron Wyden of Oregon has introduced the "Recreation Not Red-Tape Act" (S.2706 and H.R.4790) to promote job growth in the outdoor recreation industry, create new opportunities for public and private partnerships and simplify some components of the outdoor recreation pass system on federally managed lands.
- WTA will monitor the bill as it progresses through Congress to ensure it benefits hikers in Washington and across the nation.
Planning new trails in Whatcom County
Background: Hikers have a new opportunity to help Washington's Department of Natural Resources plan trails in Whatcom County. There are currently no designated trails on DNR land within our county, so this is your chance to participate in the early phase of trail planning so we can create recreation opportunities that reflect the need of our community.
- WTA is participating in a committee of outdoors enthusiasts to create a vision for Whatcom County trails with DNR.
Ensuring a strong future for Washington's cross-state trail
Background: The John Wayne Pioneer Trail is the longest rail-trail reaching across Washington from east to west. The Washington State Parks and Recreation Commission has begun a planning process to shape the future of the eastern section of Iron Horse State Park and the John Wayne Pioneer Trail. In 2014, State Parks completed planning for the 34 mile section of railroad corridor between Malden and the Idaho border. The current planning process will address the remaining 140 mile portion of the John Wayne Pioneer Trail that extends from Beverly Bridge to Malden.
- At the end of 2015, State Parks began working with a citizen advisory committee to address management concerns and plan for recreational use on this section of the trail. WTA has been included on the committee and continues to advocate for access and collaborative management between the state and communities along the trail.
HOW YOU CAN HELP
RELATED NEWS FROM WTA'S SIGNPOST BLOG
Trails Can't Speak for Themselves, But These Advocates Will
Feb 04, 2016
Meet just a few of the trail advocates who have played a big role in advocating for trails here in Washington.
Show Support for Two Trail Projects Along I-90
Feb 02, 2016
The U.S. Forest Service has proposed two new trail projects within the Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest on the Talapus Lake Trail and near Dirty Harry's Peak.
2016 Legislative Priorities: Teanaway Community Forest, Trail Funding
Jan 25, 2016
This years’ legislative session in Olympia may be short, but hikers still have an opportunity to support investment in our public lands.
Attend a Meeting to Discuss Wilderness Use in Mount Rainier
Nov 11, 2015
Mount Rainier National Park is considering updating its wilderness plan to address pressures on popular trails.
Advocate for Trails at Lake Whatcom on Nov. 5
Oct 29, 2015
There’s a possibility for new trails on Lookout Mountain and next to Lake Whatcom. Here's how you can help make them a reality.
Urban Trails to Connect Neighbors With Nature, Each Other
Oct 15, 2015
At the end of September, Seattle City Council approved a $100,000 grant to bring an urban trail experience to one of the city's most diverse neighborhoods.
Wildfires Burn Through National Forest Budgets
Oct 01, 2015
This year's fires took an enormous toll on Washington communities and wracked up a hefty bill, forcing the Forest Service to raid recreation funds.
DNR Proposes New Trail Policy, Public Comments Due Sept. 28
Sep 25, 2015
The Department of Natural Resources needs your input as the agency plans for the future of recreation in places like Mt. Si, Oyster Dome and Mailbox Peak.
Federal Program Needs Your Support for the Future
Sep 02, 2015
WTA volunteers donate thousands of hours each year, but it takes a lot of resources to get boots on the ground. The Recreational Trails Program (RTP) is making it easier for volunteers to give back.
Outdoor Community Discusses the Future of Recreation in Washington with DelBene, Murray
Aug 12, 2015
Nearly a dozen members of the outdoor recreation community met with Congresswoman Suzan DelBene and Senator Patty Murray to discuss the need to maintain Washington's natural heritage for the future.
Submit Your Comments on North Cascades Helicopter Landing Proposal
Jul 27, 2015
The U.S. Army has proposed several helicopter exercise sites in the North Cascades, some of which are in close proximity to popular hiking areas.
Land and Water Conservation Fund Protects Trail Experiences
Jul 14, 2015
One of the nation’s most important conservation program is at risk of expiring in September if Congress doesn’t act soon. Learn why it's critical for Washington’s trails.
Hikers' Voices Heard on I-90 Timber Sale
Jun 23, 2015
Over 500 comments from hikers were sent to the Forest Service asking for a timber harvest to be to be balanced with protecting trails. The Forest Service heard hikers loud and clear.
Shape New Trails in the Central Cascades
Jun 15, 2015
The Nature Conservancy made news with a historic land purchase preserving 47,921 acres of land near Cle Elum. You have the chance to shape the future of the land.
Was Your Favorite Trail Protected by This Little-Known Program?
May 15, 2015
Treasured places like Antoine Peak and Iller Creek in Spokane, the Duwamish Greenbelt in King County and more will remain in the public trust thanks to the Conservation Futures program.
Victory in Olympia! Bringing the Outdoors Into the Governor's Office
May 13, 2015
A new law signed by the Governor today creates the first-ever senior policy advisor on recreation in Washington. It also funds the No Child Left Inside program.
You Can Help the Mountains to Sound Greenway Become a National Heritage Area
Apr 21, 2015
If you've hiked in the Puget Sound region or Central Cascades, you've probably hiked in the Mountains to Sound Greenway. Now it could become a National Heritage Area.
Mount Rainier Faces Maintenance Backlog, Asks Congress to Fund Parks
Apr 17, 2015
Reports of significant maintenance backlogs at Mount Rainier, other federal lands, point to a need for Congress to fund public lands in 2016.
Teanaway Community Forest Draft Plan: Ready for Your Review
Apr 09, 2015
Hikers, trail runners and others now have the opportunity to read and comment on the draft management plan for the Teanaway Community Forest.
Pledge to Keep Trails Clean, Win a New Klean Kanteen
Apr 06, 2015
Do you bring your own water bottle when you hike? Do you pack your trash out? Sign the pledge to keep our trails clean, and be entered to win a new Klean Kanteen.
DNR Plans to Expand Recreation in the Snoqualmie Corridor
Apr 02, 2015
Outdoor enthusiasts of all stripes will soon enjoy access on 120 miles of trails in the Snoqualmie Corridor as part of a recently-released recreation plan.
Speak Up for Trails in the I-90 Corridor
Mar 25, 2015
The Forest Service needs to hear from you about a timber harvest proposal that could impact trails in the Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest: the Hansen Creek project.
Call for New Trails in Clark County Parks
Feb 26, 2015
If you'd like to see more local hiking and walking trails in Clark County, here are two easy ways to tell the county and its Parks Advisory Board how you feel in an online survey or in person.
What Do State Parks Mean to You?
Feb 23, 2015
What do you like about visiting one of Washington's State Parks? Help get the next generation into the parks by taking a brief survey, and you'll entered to win a $150 REI giftcard!
Victory! Hikers Celebrate New Additions to Alpine Lakes Wilderness
Dec 11, 2014
Today, Congress passed The Alpine Lakes Wilderness bill, which will protect an additional 22,000 acres to one of hikers' most beloved destinations. WTA and hikers have been working towards this victory for seven years.
Speak Up for Hiking Trails at Teanaway Open House
Dec 02, 2014
Voice your opinions about the future of the Teanaway Community Forest at an upcoming public open house on Thursday, Dec. 4 from 5-8 p.m. at the Swauk Teanaway Grange, 1361 Ballard Rd. West, Cle Elum.
A Vision for New Columbia River Gorge Trails in Oregon State Parks
Nov 18, 2014
This spring Oregon State Parks revealed a draft of their plan to guide the next 20 years of improvements at parks they manage in the Columbia River Gorge. Public comments are due by November 21st so its critical that hikers voice support for the ideas in the plan that will improve and expand hiking opportunities in the Gorge.
Hooray! The Suiattle Road Finally Opens
Oct 30, 2014
On October 25, the Suiattle River Road, closed for 11 years due to washouts, was opened to the percussive beat of rain and much applause, restoring access to the Glacier Peak wilderness and a myriad of hikes in the area, most notably the Green Mountain Lookout. This widely-publicized destination is an extremely popular destination for hikers and history buffs alike. The road is also a boon for the nearby town of Darrington, which relies heavily on tourism dollars for the local economy.
Future of Hiking Trails on DNR Lands Depends on You
Sep 24, 2014
Help shape the future of trails like Mailbox Peak, Oyster Dome and Mount Si. Attend an upcoming meeting on DNR’s recreation trails policy, and help shape the future of state trails for years to come.
ONP’s Enchanted Valley Chalet Moving, Temporarily
Sep 04, 2014
Olympic National Park has begun work to move the Enchanted Valley Chalet. During the two-week project, hikers should be aware of a few restrictions in the area. The move is a temporary measure to protect the chalet, which has been threatened by a change in course of the valley's East Fork of the Quinault River.