The Trails are Counting on You!
Washington’s public lands and trails have seen a dramatic increase in the number of users over the past few years, and especially in the past few months. As our community of riders, hikers, and trail users grows, so does the importance of being good stewards of the lands we all love.
Luckily, it doesn’t have to take all day! Attending a volunteer event is great, but these are some really easy ways you can help the trails while you’re already out enjoying the trails.
While non-profits like Evergreen Mountain Bike Alliance have volunteers and staff to help maintain the trails, everyday users like you can be the most important group in keeping the trails clean and in good shape. These trails are truly public goods, so it’s up to all of us to leave the trail a little better than when we arrived.
Here are some guidelines for things that you can do on your next ride, run, hike, walk, or whatever else you do on trails!
Join the Dirty Pocket Club!
Trails don’t take care of themselves. Taking just a few minutes to fix a small issue on your next outing has a big impact on the trail and makes you an important part of your community.
Here's what you can do to help:
Finding trash on the trails?
- Join the dirty-pocket-club and pick it up and pack it out!
- Make sure to be safe when picking up trash, don’t pick up any potentially dangerous items, like needles, and report any major clean up jobs to Evergreen.
Something blocking the trail?
- Clear small branches, loose rocks, and other debris off the trail.
- Leave any larger or potentially dangerous debris to be cleared by a trail crew or volunteer event. Just getting small debris that people might stumble over off the trail can be a huge help.
Finding puddles on the trail?
- Use your foot, tire, or hiking pole to clear organic material from existing drains.
- If you see a trail drain that’s backed up, it’s often because it’s full of leaves, pine needles/cones, or other organic material that’s not allowing water to flow off the trail. By clearing this out you’re helping the trail drain so that it will stay in better condition longer into the fall and winter.
- Be sure you’re not creating new drains, and leave bigger drainage problems to a trail crew or volunteer event.
Report any major issues to Evergreen!
- If you find an issue that you can’t take care of yourself, like a major puddle, downed tree, or a large rut, report it to Evergreen.
- Recording trail reports on Trailforks is a great way to give other users and Evergreen a heads up about any issues you encountered. You can also submit this form to notify Evergreen about any larger issues you noticed on the trail that may require a professional job.
Want to do more?
Evergreen works with our partners in the Recreate Responsibly Coalition to promote stewardship, inclusivity, and responsible recreation during the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond. For more information, please reach out to BobbyStewart@evergreenMTB.org.
Evergreen and our Recreate Responsibly Coalition partner organizations are always looking for volunteers, and have plenty of opportunities for you to join our volunteer team and learn more about trail work. Click here to learn more about volunteering for Evergreen, or check out more volunteer opportunities with WTA, King County, and Mountains to Sound Greenway.