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Frequently Asked Questions about Packing Facility Work Parties

Learn how to get a certification to help WTA at our packing facility. It's a good way to get a behind-the-scenes look at what goes into making our backcountry trips tick, and a fun way to support WTA's trail maintenance program.

There is a lot that goes on behind-the-scenes to manage WTA’s Volunteer Vacations program. The hundreds of meals and thousands of pounds of gear that power these week-long crews appear courtesy of WTA logistics staff and volunteers working at the North Bend Packing facility. Volunteers who work at the packing facility play an essential role in the success of this program.

packing facility volunteer photo by anna roth
Friendly faces are a common sight on all WTA work parties. Photo by Anna Roth. 

What happens at a Packing Facility Work Party?

Typical activities include packing food and gear for outgoing crews, cleaning gear from incoming crews, taking inventory, restocking shelves, repairing broken gear, loading/unloading trucks, and gear transport.

Every day brings something a little bit different, like packing bear-proof containers that will be carried by mules into the backcountry, putting new handles on dirt buckets, restocking first aid kits, or lettering hard hats. Packing facility volunteers sometimes drive gear to trailheads in a WTA truck.

What is a “Packing facility certification” and how can I get one?

Learning the layout of the packing facility and the systems that logistics volunteers use takes time and training. A packing facility certification is required to sign up for this type of work party so that work parties can run with maximum efficiency.

Logistics staff need to minimize training during the summer, so trainings are only offered in the spring. Priority for certification is given to volunteers who can commit to several packing facility work parties over the course of a summer.

When are packing facility work parties?

Packing facility work parties happen over the course of the volunteer vacation season, from March to September. They tend to be scheduled on weekdays, with some gear transport work parties scheduled for weekends.

Do packing facility work parties count toward my next award?

Yes, each packing facility work party you attend is equivalent to a day work party. Volunteers are expected to stay for the full work day (typically 8:00 am - 3:00 pm) to receive work party credit.

Is this work party only for experienced volunteers and crew leaders?

No. We welcome volunteers of any experience level into the packing facility training. Even if you have no trail work experience but want to support WTA’s trail maintenance program, this is a great way to help out.

Are packing facility work parties physically demanding?

If you want them to be. Just like during a typical WTA work party, we abide by our motto: "Safety, fun, and work" at the packing facility. If you feel uncomfortable with some of the more demanding tasks (like heavy lifting into trucks or up stairs) there are plenty of other less physical tasks that are equally important.

You will likely be on your feet for most of the day, but can choose lower impact activities like repackaging food, cleaning bins, and lettering hard hats.  

What should I wear? What should I bring?

  • Close-toed shoes
  • Warm clothing in colder months
  • A hat, hair tie, or other method for restraining hair during food prep
  • Lunch and water
  • A rain jacket
  • A sense of fun and adventure for learning new skills and meeting great people!

I’m interested in helping at the packing facility but no trainings are scheduled. who should i get in touch with?

You can send a message to volunteer@wta.org if you are interested in a future packing facility certification training. Logistics staff will make sure you know about future trainings.

Does WTA encourage or try to arrange carpooling?

Yes! We have an automated online carpool system. When you join a work party you will be encouraged to carpool. Simply choose one of these options: Willing to drive; Needs a ride; Willing to drive or ride. Then give a brief description of your ideal meeting point in the space provided (not in the comments section).

This information will be sent to all people who sign up for your trip, along with your email address (we do not send out your phone number - so please provide a valid email). You will then be able to contact or be contacted by others interested in carpooling.

Remember, if you are a rider, please be courteous and offer to chip in on the cost of gas!