I’ve heard great things about the Washington Trail Association (WTA) and enjoyed hiking on a bunch of trails they have built, so decided it’s time to give something back and volunteer for a WTA work crew! Tons of volunteer opportunities on the WTA site: http://www.wta.org/volunteer/trail-work-parties
I found an opportunity quite close to home at the Evan Creek Preserve, just east of Redmond:
Awoke to clear skies on Saturday morning, packed a lunch and hit the road, meeting up with the crew at the preserve at 0830.
The day started off with introdctions and a quick safety briefing along with a short lesson in “trail anatomy”. It becomes quickly apparent that Jen, the crew leader, loves her job!
The Evans Creek Preserve opened in October 2011 on an 179-acre old farmstead off the Redmond-Fall City Road. Since that time the WTA has built miles of trails in the preserve, but they still have plenty of work to do!
Here’s what the preserve looks like from Google Earth-
First task of the morning was to dig and haul buckets of soil to cover a bridge of sorts. This was very physical work! Who needs a gym when you have the WTA? ^_^
Everything, and I mean EVERYTHING, is done by hand. What I wouldn’t have given for a wheelbarrow!!! Here are some of my fellow volunteers digging up soil, which we then had to carry some ~50 or more yards to the “bridge”…
Jen and the other crew leaders were a great bunch- the focus is on staying safe and having fun. Folks work as hard as they want to, but there’s no expectation of how much work will get done. Time goes by pretty quickly when you’re toiling away in the woods. Soon enough it was time to break for lunch-
With the “bridge” more or less complete, the task after lunch was to “bump” the trail forward, bit by bit. Again, hard heavy work, but very rewarding to see us making forward progress.
By the end of the day my arms were limp and my back was aching from swinging axes and hoes and hauling all those buckets of dirt. But it’s the best kind of tired there is!
Thanks WTA! Looking forward to hooking up with you again soon!
Happy Trails! 🙂