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Lost Trails Found Crews Bring Big Boost to Backcountry Trails

Posted by Rachel Wendling at Jun 03, 2022 10:16 AM |

This summer, WTA will be leading two six-person crews into the backcountry to tackle some of our biggest projects.

This summer, WTA is excited to announce the expansion of our Lost Trails Found crews! After a successful pilot in 2021, we are pleased to be continuing the program and increasing capacity with the addition of a second 6-person crew.

Our inaugural crew worked on backcountry favorites throughout the Lake Chelan, Pasayten and Glacier Peak wilderness areas and cleared a staggering number of fallen logs from the trail — 1,301 to be exact. We can't wait to see what our expanded crews will be able to accomplish this year.

Crew members smile at the camera after a week of crosscut training in the Entiat.
Both crews after a week of crosscut training in the Entiat. Back: Iman Chatila, Blake Harmon, Zack Sklar, Kyvan Elep, Jackie Marusiak, Ginevra Moore, Marissa Wall, Angelic Friday. Front: Zachary Toliver, Austin Easter and Kathryn Conley. Not pictured are crew members Annalise Pree and Rhoda Boettcher. Photo courtesy Zachary Toliver.

WTA launched our Lost Trails Found campaign in 2017 with the goal of saving backcountry trails, many of which are at risk of falling off the map due to a lack of maintenance. We know that crews on the ground are key to bringing these trails back into hiking shape. But, due to the trails remote nature and short summer work window in those areas, they can be difficult to reach with our standard volunteer model. By employing professional crews, we're able to send folks into the backcountry for extended 8-day trips and reach deeper sections of the backcountry. 

This summer, our two Lost Trails Found crews will be working to address the maintenance backlog across several regions, with trips planned in the Okanogan-Wenatchee, Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie, Umatilla and Gifford Pinchot national forests. Many of our priority areas have been hit hard by wildfires and storm damage, which have buried trails under miles of fallen trees and damaged key trail structures. With the additional capacity this year, we'll also spend some time on higher-impact trails that are having trouble holding up to increased demand.

A view of the dirt road to the Entiat River trailhead. On the left is the road covered in several fallen trees. On the right is the road clear of trees, thanks to the work of the Lost Trails Found crew.
After a particularly long and rough winter, even the road needed clearing. Our crews started their first hitch by logging out the road to the trailhead — then continued down the trail. Photo by Zachary Toliver.

After onboarding in May, our crews have already hit the trail for their first of many hitches — teaming up for a week in the Entiat to work on crosscut saw skills and clear out seasonal storm damage. In just a few days, they helped Forest Service crews reopen the last mile of road to the Entiat River trailhead, which had become inaccessible to vehicles due to dozens of fallen trees. From there, they moved onward to logout the first few miles of trail. This week, they headed back out to the Entiat to continue maintenance up to the wilderness boundary and begin work on re-opening access to the Larch Lakes and Cow Creek Meadows loop.

Funding for our Lost Trails Found crews was made possible by the Region 6 Forest Service and the Great American Outdoors Act, as well as our generous donors. Keep up to date with all of our lost trails found work at

Read about last year's pro crew