Last week, I volunteered at a trail work party at the Evan’s Creek Preserve trail in Redmond. Washington
Washington Trails Association was building a new trail off of an existing trail at the site and I signed up to volunteer.There were about 20 others volunteering that day and this is a project that has been going on for weeks.
There were about 20 others volunteering that day and this is a project that has been going on for weeks.Being my first trail work party, I had no idea what kind of work goes into building a trail. Here’s three reasons why every hiker should volunteer their time at a trail work party:
1. You’re a hiker; the most obvious reason. If you’ve hiked even just once, you’ve used the services of hundreds of volunteers. The trail was most likely built by volunteers and has probably been maintained and updated at least once by volunteers, if not more. If you want to continue hiking and using new trails (or old ones), you should also want to help them expand and keep them nice.
2. Someone has to do it and who better than you? Trails don’t build themselves and most people don’t build trails. Most people don’t get involved with volunteering to build trails unless they’ve been a hiker themselves or have hiker friends that get them involved. Many people volunteer, but there is always a need for more. Plus, you know the trails, you know what kind of trail you’d want to hike on and which ones haven’t been so pleasant, so why not make a trail that you’d be excited to hike on or fix a trail that you didn’t like too much?
3. You will appreciate trails a whole lot more. The next time you hike a trail, you’re going to be able to see all of the hard work that went into it and you’re going to appreciate it. You’ll see what parts took an entire day for someone to do and understand how difficult certain areas may have been for someone to build. You’re going to feel proud that you did something similar.
Hiking will never be the same and you’re going to love it even more after volunteering at a trail work party.
Now that I’ve convinced you to try it, here’s a little information to help you get started. The trail work party that I volunteered at was through Washington Trails Association. All you need to do is sign up on their website. They have work parties every day of the week except Monday and there are many in or near Bellingham. It is a full day, so pack a lunch. Wear hiking boots or work boots because it’s even muddier than hiking. Don’t wear shorts, even if it’s really hot outside – your knees will thank you. It is hard work and I was sore the next day, but it’s so worth it and you’ll have an excuse to skip your workout for the day. Most importantly, have fun giving back to the trails that you’ve used!