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Storms Take Toll on Trails

Posted by Susan Elderkin at Jan 25, 2012 01:32 PM |
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The past week of snow, ice and wind have taken their toll on a number of trails throughout the state, and particularly in King County where WTA trail crews and hikers have reported many downed trees and debris.

What a week of wild weather! Snow, ice and wind have taken their toll on a number of trails throughout the state, bringing down trees and branches and messing with the tread.

Particularly hard hit were a number of parks in King County where a severe ice storm, followed by wind, did a number on the trees. WTA volunteer trail crews have been out since Saturday clearing debris and downed logs at Tiger and Taylor Mountains in the Issaquah Alps.

Sunday's Tiger Mountain crew leader Claire Hansen described their work as "leapfrogging from one branch pile to another log to the next blocked culvert, up to the crest of the trail." This is not a unique situation.

We've also gotten a few Trip Reports detailing the damage. "Rnnrgrl" has provided an account and photos of damage at Grand Ridge Park and at Cougar Mountain's Wilderness Peak trail. She reports that WTA's Grand Ridge bridge and boardwalk both took trees but fortunately suffered no unrepairable damage.

The story was grimmer at Cougar Mountain, however. "It took us 27 minutes to cover one mile, and we were running (stopping/running/crawling over trees/running/moving branches/running, you get the picture)," she posted on January 22.

What You Can Do

As you venture out hiking in the next few weeks, you can help WTA, the land managers and other hikers by posting your own Trip Report with photos about any damage to your favorite hiking trail.

These trails also need your help! Join a WTA volunteer trail work party to help clear the mess created by these storms. The more people we have to help clear the trails, the quicker the crews can get back to the projects they were working on before the storm hit.

Finally, be careful while hiking. This debris makes hiking a bit more hazardous than usual, with lots of logs to trip and poke. Also look overhead for "widow-maker" branches. And if you get a chance, throw a few of these off the trail while you hike. Those who follow will be thankful.