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Rebooting Popular Trails for Year Round Hiking in Hood Canal

Posted by Rachel Wendling at Nov 29, 2021 04:08 PM |

This summer, WTA's volunteer crews provided urgent maintenance to some of the Hood Canal’s most loved trails in order to ensure that these trails are accessible and safe for all users.

The Lena Lake trail is one of the most popular and beloved trails along Hood Canal. Which is why replacing the old, worn out bridge right before the lake was a must for WTA volunteer crews this season. Repairing the bridge before it becomes impossible to cross will allow hikers to continue to access this spectacular lake for years to come.

“WOO HOO!!  After several work parties, the second bridge 2.5 miles up the trail is open for safe use! Improving the tread up to the bridge was the focus for 11 work parties, and the bridge took 20 work parties to work on,” crew leader Charlie Romine exclaimed in a trip report.

Volunteers wearing green hard hats stand on a completed log bridge with a railing on one side. Vine maples in front of the bridge are begging to turn yellow and orange.
Thanks to volunteers, this bridge is now ready for hikers on the way to Lena Lake. Photo by Charlie Romine.

Trails like Lena Lake and the Duckabush in the Hood Canal region are key access points into the glorious wilderness experiences that the Olympics offer. There’s a little something for everyone, from river rambles to rugged backpacking trips. WTA’s work on popular trails such as these is part of our Trails Rebooted campaign. Through the campaign, WTA is working to support popular recreation areas by improving existing trails, championing the construction of new ones and helping hikers see the role they play in the future of trails.

This summer, crews provided urgent maintenance to some of the Hood Canal’s most loved trails in order to ensure that these trails are accessible and safe for all users. Trails in this area get a lot of rain, especially during the winter, which causes a lot of damage and erosion, making annual maintenance critical

Crews brushed vegetation that had been encroaching on the trail, restored tread, logged out fallen trees and improved drainage to keep water off the trails. Volunteers repaired nearly 100 drainage features and removed over 82 logs on the Duckabush Trail, rerouted a heavily eroded section of the Dungeness Trail, repaired a section of the Lena Lake trail that had been damaged from water run off, as well as built a turnpike on the Lower South Fork Skokomish Trail to help hikers navigate through a particularly wet and difficult section of the trail.

“(We) cleared and evened the tread on a section of the trail in order to encourage users to stay on-trail and not damage the vegetation on the downhill side. (I enjoyed) meeting new people, learning about a new trail, and giving back to the trails that give me so much!” said one volunteer after working on Elbo Creek.

Volunteers pose on a newly constructed turnpike on the Upper Dungeness trail.
Volunteers pose on a newly constructed turnpike on the Upper Dungeness trail. Photo by Patrick Sullivan.

All this work will pay off for years to come, but hikers were grateful for the repairs this year.

“Thanks to the WTA crews working the lower trail and the park ranger giving a needed trimming to the upper trail — your work is very much appreciated!” said trip reporter Chelan Hiker after hiking to Lena Lake this July.

This work was made possible in part by a grant from the National Wilderness Stewardship Alliance, whose mission is to bring together the wilderness stewardship community into a growing network of volunteer-based non-profit organizations that provide stewardship for America's enduring resource of wilderness. We are also grateful for the support of our trusted partners at the Back Country Horsemen of Washington for their work on this project.

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