Thanks to generous support from the National Forest Foundation’s Forest Stewardship Fund and Skamania Lodge, the Washington Trails Association (WTA) is nearly finished with a year of trail work events where volunteers have restored, improved and even built new trails at popular destinations in the Gorge.
In developing the project it was quickly apparent that funds could have the biggest impact if they were spread among many projects rather than a single large one. WTA and Forest Service staff selected projects that served a broad spectrum of trail users by coordinating with the Cape Horn Conservancy, Friends of the Columbia Gorge, Pacific Crest Trail Association, and the Columbia Area Mountain Bike Advocates. Like many Forests across the nation, the synergy that multiple partners can bring to a project has been critical to success.
In January WTA volunteers built a new trail to an overlook site on the Cape Horn Trail. Completion of the short spur made possible the construction of an overlook platform subsequently built by the Cape Horn Conservancy.
In April WTA partnered with the Pacific Crest Trail Association, Backcountry Horseman of America, Trailkeepers of Oregon and Mount St. Helens Institute to host the annual Columbia Cascades Trail Skills College in Cascade Locks. The event included projects made possible through this grant to teach project design, turnpike construction, and accessible trail construction.
The biggest project completed was the one mile Sams Walker barrier-free trail. Originally built as an accessible trail at three feet wide, grass encroachment narrowed the path to render it useless to anyone using a wheel chair. WTA hosted a series of work parties throughout the spring to restore the trail width and apply fresh gravel. To celebrate the end of the project and National Trails Day, WTA teamed up with Friends of the Columbia Gorge and the Chinook Trail Association to host a work party and picnic lunch.
This Fall WTA will host work parties to restore the Augspurger Mt. Trail, a rugged ridge route with exceptional views and wildflowers. And lastly, this winter after rains have softened the soil once again, volunteers will complete a new connector trail at Coyote Wall that was designed in collaboration with a local mountain bike group, the Columbia Area Mountain Bike Advocates.
WTA hosted work party events are open to all. To get involved visit www.wta.org or contact Southwest Washington’s Regional Manager, Ryan Ojerio at email@example.com or by phone 360-722-2657.