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Your Next Backpacking Trail Maintenance Destination

Posted by Loren Drummond at Jul 31, 2012 05:20 PM |

Ever wonder how trails miles from the nearest road, like some sections of the Pacific Crest Trail, stay in good shape? One way is through WTA Backcountry Response Teams, or BCRTs. Check out some of our featured trips coming up this month.

Ever wonder how trails miles from the nearest road, like some sections of the Pacific Crest Trail, stay in good shape?

One way is through WTA Backcountry Response Teams, or BCRTs. To maintain trails in the backcountry that a one-day or weekend work party typically can’t reach, WTA volunteers crews of four to twelve people backpack in and spend up 3-6 days on trail projects.

Should you go?

If you’re a backpacker who is passionate about trails, then yes. On these trips, you bring in your own food and equipment in your backpack and carry your own tools. Crews do a fair bit of hiking, either doing the work as they go or accessing a specific trail project beyond the range of a day trip.

Work and play

The BCRT experience can be a challenge, but the rewards are worth it. Volunteers hike and work in beautiful terrain on interesting trails that often need a lot of work. If you go, you’ll still have time to relax and enjoy the company of your fellow backpackers/trail workers.

Thanks, REI

REI's grant of 20K for the summer season is making it possible for our volunteers to get out and keep up Washington's beloved trails for all hikers.

Check out some of our featured trips coming up this month.

Salmo Loop Trail

Where: Sullivan Lake Ranger District, Colville National Forest
When: This weekend! Sat-Mon Aug. 4-6, 2012 (Sign up by Wednesday)

This Backcountry Response Team trip will be working within the beautiful Salmo-Priest Wilderness, the only Wilderness in the northeast part of Washington. We will be working on the Salmo Loop trail between the trailhead and the Salmo Cabin.

Salmo-Priest Loop
Salmo-Priest Loop. Photo by Holly Weiler

The work will include logout and tread work making sure that this section of trail is accessible to stock. This will be a three day/two night backpacking trip where we will camp at the Salmo River crossing. Come join us in a great wilderness area that has stunning views and abundant wildlife.

>>Sign up for the Salmo Loop Trail trip by Wednesday, Aug 1.

Shedroof Divide Trail

Where: Sullivan Lake Ranger District, Colville National Forest
When: Sat-Mon Aug. 9-12, 2012

This trip will be working within the beautiful Salmo-Priest Wilderness, the only Wilderness in the northeast part of Washington. This will be a four day/three night backpacking trip. We will be working on the Shedroof Divide trail either near the Thunder Creek cutoff or out towards Little Snowy Top depending on which area has the greatest need. The work will include logout, tread work, drainage repair and brushing. Come join us in a great wilderness area that has stunning views and abundant wildlife.

>>Sign up for the Shedroof Divide Trail trip

PCT – Suiattle River

Suiattle River
The Suiattle River. Photo by Sir-Hikes-A-Lot

Where: Darrington Ranger District
When: Tues-Sun Aug. 14-19, 2012

Winter storms in 2003 did a huge amount of damage to the trails on the west side of the Glacier Peak wilderness. The damage was made worse by more storms in 2006. Over the last few years the Forest Service has been working to repair this damage including a new bridge over the Suiattle River. It is now time for us to jump in and help out with this effort. We will be working on the newest section of the PCT, one that was built to connect the old PCT to the new bridge site over the Suiattle. We will also be improving sections of the Suiattle trail that is now part of the PCT. The work will include finish tread work, brushing, logout, building drainage structures and stream fords. We will be camping near the new bridge roughly 12 miles up the Suiattle from the end of the road at Downey Creek. This is scheduled as a 6 day BCRT but there will also be a Forest Service crew that is in for a 9 day hitch and you are welcome to extend your stay for the last 3 days of their tour.

>>Sign up for the Suiattle River trip

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