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Backcountry Havens: 5 BCRTs that Need Your Help

Posted by Anna Roth at Mar 11, 2014 05:20 PM |
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Below are listed five 2014 BCRT locations that could use a few more enthusiastic crew members.

Many of WTA's one-day and weekend work parties are only able to address the first few miles of trail, so during the summertime we head further in with backcountry response teams. These are work parties that last three to eight days on which we tackle maintenance needs of locations we can't reach in a day.

BCRTs are challenging, but they are also very rewarding. Volunteers will hike to and work in beautiful terrain on interesting trails. You will still have time to relax and enjoy the company of your fellow trail workers in gorgeous campsites, far away from the noise and lights of civilization.

Below are five BCRT locations that could use a few more enthusiastic crew members. If you have questions about difficulty of any trip, click through to the descriptions below, read more about BCRTs here, or give us a call.

Quartz Creek: Work and play in the shadow of a volcano - FULL!

June 19 - 22

The steep, rugged Quartz Creek Trail carries hikers through a valley of ancient old-growth in the Dark Divide Roadless Area as they discover magnificent cedars, firs, and hemlocks. If you join WTA here, you'll have a chance to get to know this stunning area complete with cliff faces padded by thick mosses, and a clear stream whose burbling waters trip over colorful bedrock.

Quartz Creek BCRT
WTA's BCRT at Quartz Creek offers solitude and a chance to visit an infrequently visited part of the Dark Divide. Photos: Crosscut team - Megan Mackenzie. Quartz Creek - Ryan Ojerio.

What's special about this trip:

In your down time, you'll be able to explore numerous side streams that flow into Quartz Creek, and discover a series of waterfalls along nearby Straight Creek. Camp will be within sight and sound of cascading water, and you can see craggy spires and exposed rock near the rugged upper section of the trail.

Why this trail needs you:

WTA has visited Quartz Creek in the past (see above), but a backlog of trail maintenance demands an energetic trail crew's attention. We'll be focusing on treadwork and brushing, but more projects may arise, depending on how our wild winter weather has affected the area. Come see what old man winter has wrought -- and how you can fix it -- on the Quartz Creek Trail.

>> Sign up now for the Quartz Creek BCRT.

Thunder Creek and Shedroof Divide Trails: Building bridges in the Salmo

July 10 - 13

Join WTA in the the Salmo-Priest Wilderness, a wild area in the extreme northeast corner of Washington. Dominated by the Shedroof Divide and Crowell Ridge, the wilderness offers stunning vistas, including the Selkirk Range in Idaho and the Okanogans in Washington. If it's particularly clear, you may even get a glimpse into Canada.

Thunder Creek BCRT No moose
The Thunder Creek area will keep volunteers busy and fascinated by the surrounding landscape. All photos courtesy WTA WTA staff.

What's special about this trip:

Here you'll find wildlife that you'll be hard pressed to glimpse anywhere else in the contiguous United States. A wide variety of animals call the Salmo-Priest home, including bears, bighorn sheep, moose, even wolves. There are also caribou here, the only place in the lower 48 that they reside.

Why this trail needs you:

When you join us at Thunder Creek, you'll have the chance to flex your trailwork muscles on a variety of projects. We'll be rebuilding puncheon structures on Thunder Creek and reworking areas of trail along upper Thunder Creek. Along the Shedroof Divide Trail, we'll be doing tread repair, brushing, drainage maintenance and logout. Take this opportunity to work in and explore this quiet corner of Washington state.

>> Sign up now for the Thunder Creek and Shedroof Divide Trails BCRT.

Snoqualmie Lake: A hidden gem in the Alpine Lakes

July 24 - 27

Take advantage of an opportunity to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Wilderness Act by joining us to help keep a beautiful trail in the Alpine Lakes Wilderness in great shape. You'll be rewarded with a sense of accomplishment, and a campsite on the shores of this gorgeous backcountry lake.

Snoqualmie Lake BCRT
Snoqualmie Lake offers a respite from the city via a surprisingly close-in trailhead. Photos: Volunteer sawing - Gary Zink, Volunteer doing treadwork - WTA staff, Waterfall - Brent Ponto.

What's special about this area:

Before plans were scrapped, the Snoqualmie Lake Trail was the proposed route for a road from the Middle Fork to Skykomish. Without development, the trail has become a wild path leading through verdant forest to one of the most remote sections of the Middle Fork valley. Following a gentle grade, hikers meander along the Taylor River along a intimate trail that eventually leads to quiet, peaceful Snoqualmie Lake.

Why this trail needs you:

The trail requires some realignment to better position it along the river, and we'll be doing some culvert installations to keep water flowing off of the trail. This is a moderately easy hike to a lesser known retreat near Seattle, well worth the relatively short drive.

>> Sign up now for the Snoqualmie Lake Trail BCRT.

Shedroof Divide - Thunder Mountain: Excellent views in Eastern Washington

July 31 - August 3

Join WTA as we work within the beautiful Salmo-Priest Wilderness in the northeast part of Washington. The Shedroof Divide Trail stretches 20 miles from the Canadian border to Pass Creek Pass, and with a 13-mile loop in store on this trip, you'll have the chance to explore a sizeable chunk of that distance.

Thunder Mountain BCRT
Thunder Mountain affords visitors expansive views of the Salmo-Priest, from sunrise to sunset. Photos: 20th Anniversary Volunteers and Randy Greyerbiehl - WTA staff, Sunset - Taylor McDowell

What's special about this area:

You'll enjoy views into Canada and Idaho from your worksite, and the sunsets will fill you with calm at the end of the day. The area is also home to a multitude of megafauna, including caribou. The Salmo-Priest is the only place in the lower 48 that they reside.

Why this trail needs your help:

Some of the access trails that run east from the divide down towards Hughes Meadow in Idaho could use some help, and we'll be working on a particularly beautiful 6.5 mile section of the Shedroof Divide Trail, repairing tread and brushing, as well as doing drainage maintenance and logging out. Come explore this quiet wilderness with your crew as you work on some of the most beautiful trails in northeastern Washington.

>> Sign up now for the Shedroof Divide - Thunder Mountain BCRT.

Blanca Lake: Trailwork in technicolor

August 7 - 10

Blanca Lake's robin's egg blue color has to be seen to be believed; many hikers cry out in surprise when they see it for the first time. On this BCRT, you'll be lucky enough to camp on the shore of this spectacular lake, nestled in a basin crowned by soaring peaks.

Blanca Lake BCRT
Camping at Blanca Lake is an experience few will get to boast about. Don't miss your chance to do so! Photos: Smiling volunteer - WTA staff, Blanca Lake 2012 BCRT - Zach McBride, Blanca Lake - Servaas van Grafhorst.

What's special about this area:

Blanca Lake is famous for its gorgeous color, its refreshing water, and its hike in -- a steep switchbacking climb through forest that leads you to views of Monte Cristo, Kyes, and Columbia peaks. In late summer, the area is rife with huckleberries, and hikers can enjoy a sweet snack on the way down from Virgin Lake to Blanca Lake. But this section of trail needs some serious WTA love.

Why this trail needs your help:

The switchbacks on the front side are well-graded, if steep, but the descent from Virgin Lake to Blanca can be treacherous. It is rooty, rocky, and can be very muddy, so we will be working here doing general maintenance including tread repair, root and rock removal, drainage and brushing. Join us here to improve the last stretch of a trail that accesses one of the crown jewels of the Alpine Lakes Wilderness.

>> Sign up now for the Blanca Lake BCRT.