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WTA Selected to Receive Grant from Boeing

Posted by Kate Neville at Jan 26, 2016 10:50 AM |
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WTA will receive $40,000 each year for two years to develop and expand our trail volunteer program from a significant grant provided by the Boeing Company.

Crew Leader College 2015. Photo by Kindra Ramos.
Volunteers, staff and partners at WTA's Crew Leader College, hosted by the Snoqualmie Ranger District in North Bend. At this annual gathering, crew leaders attend and teach classes on trail building and maintenance. Photo by Kindra Ramos.

Washington Trails Association is thrilled to announce that we've been selected to receive a significant grant from the Boeing Company.

WTA will receive $40,000 each year for two years to develop and expand our volunteer trail maintenance program. With decades of cuts to government funding for public lands, hikers and land management agencies increasingly rely on volunteer groups like WTA to keep trails open. Over the last 20 years, WTA has built the nation's largest statewide volunteer trail maintenance program, in no small part thanks to supporters like the Boeing Company.

WTA completed 140,000 hours of volunteer trail work across the state in 2015, 12% more than 2014. That’s like a paid trail crew cramming 5.3 years of full-time work into a single year! By year’s end, volunteers contributed $3.5 million in donated labor on 185+ trails statewide, from urban areas to remote wilderness and everything in between.

Duckabush before and after - Meagan MacKenzie
Our dedicated volunteers heroically helped the Hood Canal Ranger District reopen the Duckabush Trail for hikers after winter storms rendered the trail impassable. Crews cleared some 300 fallen logs using crosscut saws.

Recruiting, training and empowering crew leaders

WTA continues to grow our trail maintenance program, but we can’t expand our impact without great crew leaders. The nature of trail work requires coordination, training and supervision. Volunteers use heavy tools to dig out trails, move heavy rocks and cut through logs. Crew leaders make this possible, facilitating one-day work parties on front country trails within a short drive of urban and suburban communities.

Crew leaders coordinate work priorities with rangers and other land managers. They conduct safety talks and teach volunteers how to safely use trail tools. Crew leaders manage week-long Volunteer Vacations, where they tackle projects in the backcountry and on popular summer trails. They also lead multi-day Backcountry Response Teams that backpack long miles to address maintenance needs on harder-to-reach wilderness trails.

One crew leader = a big impact for trails

Our grant from the Boeing Company will expand crew leader recruitment, training and retention efforts, increasing the number of active volunteer crew leaders. And this support will be highly leveraged. Just one assistant crew leader has the potential to educate and engage more than 100 volunteers in a season. As they lead an average 17 work parties per year, they leverage more than 800 hours of volunteer stewardship. That’s a big positive impact for the trails you love to hike!

Thank you, Boeing, for supporting trails!