As a backpacker, you spend a lot of time on trails, but you probably don’t spend a lot of time thinking about trails. That’s okay. Thinking about trails is Washington Trails Association’s job, 24/7.

For those of you who don’t already know, Washington Trails Association is a nonprofit membership organization committed to serving as the voice for hikers in Washington state. WTA protects hiking trails and wild lands, takes volunteers out to maintain trails, and promotes hiking as a healthy, fun way to explore the outdoors.

Photo Courtesy CIty of Sammamish

During the month of March, WTA will be spending some quality time in the Evans Creek Preserve in Sammamish. Through a series of ongoing work parties, WTA is helping the City of Sammamish to establish a trail system on one of its newest park properties. The 179 acres that make up this preserve were formally farmland and the area includes wetlands, open fields and wooded uplands. The first phase of the trail system will be over 2 miles long and vary from wider gravel surfaced trails that meander through meadows and open forests to smaller trails that run through thicker forests near the uplands. Interested in helping us building this brand new trail system? Check out our list of upcoming work parties.

Photo Courtesy of WTA

This month we’re also busy taking registrations for our 2011 Volunteer Vacation season. WTA’s Volunteer Vacations are week-long work parties that are every bit as fun as they are crucial to maintaining our backcountry trail system. We bring interested hikers together in premiere backcountry locations to complete much-needed trail maintenance projects.  With a skilled crew leader guiding you, you’ll get to do some important trail work during the day. Projects range from repairing tread and improving drainage, to building structures such as turnpike, puncheon and bridges, or logging-out with a crosscut saw. Is the prospect of all that work making you hungry? Not to worry. WTA provides all the meals, and they will be among the best dishes you’ve had in the backcountry. You’ll share in-camp chores with fellow volunteers, like helping the cook, washing dishes and pumping water, and have plenty of time left over to sleep, eat, relax and enjoy your scenic surroundings. WTA will lead 46 week-long Volunteer Vacations this year, starting with a trip in the Hoh rain forest in April. Don’t miss your chance to participate. Learn more and register soon! That’s just a taste of what WTA is up to this spring. For the complete picture, mosey your mouse on over to the WTA website. Once there, you can file a report about a trail you just hiked, peruse how-to articles and hiking tips, read the latest trail news in our blog, check out our work party schedule and dream about all the trails you’ll be hiking soon. See you on the trail!

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