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What Are You Doing for Earth Day?

Posted by Susan Elderkin at Apr 19, 2010 03:57 PM |

Thursday is the 40th anniversary of Earth Day, and there are so many, ways (small and large) to give back to the environment and to hiking trails.

Shi Shi trash cleanup

Perhaps you are one of the 250 people planning to volunteer on a WTA work party this week. WTA is celebrating Earth Day with trail work on the Pratt Connector Trail outside of North Bend, Beacon Rock State Park in the Columbia Gorge, Iller Creek near Spokane, the Duckabush River and South Coast Wilderness Trails in the Olympics and a Volunteer Vacation at Lake Chelan. I am excited to being joining more than 30 of these volunteers on the Pratt Connector Trail on Thursday. See our schedule.

Or perhaps you were one of the approximately 3000 people who participated in Saturday's Washington Coast Clean Up. They're still weighing the bags today, but if Trip Report poster "Hulk's" experience is any indication, the amount of trash volunteers collect will at least match the 64 tons of marine debris removed from Washington beaches in 2009. Hulk, pictured at left, picked up seven bags of trash on Shi Shi Beach in 20 minutes!

If you didn't have the opportunity to participate in the coast clean-up, or if you don't have a chance this week to volunteer on the trail, there are plenty of opportunities ahead. Our complete work party schedule is online through the middle of May, and we'll be adding more trips (in more varied locations) soon. Last year WTA worked on 130 trails, so there is bound to be one near your home.

And you don't have to be a part of an organized event to be a good trail steward. I always take an extra trash bag with me when I go hiking. I'll pick up the Cliff Bar wrappers, rusty cans or anything else I can reasonably pack out. If there is something you can't pack out, it's worth mentioning in a Trip Report. With a head's up, someone else may be able to finish the job.

It's great to think about the environment on Thursday and to do something extra this week in recognition of Earth Day. But it's going to be the little things we do every day that make the biggest difference. As a hiker, what are your favorite ways to give back to the environment and trails?