Last fall, the Suiattle River Road opened after being closed for more than a decade. The road led to a number of popular trails, including the Suiattle River Trail.
After years of little maintenance and powerful winter storms, that trail, and many others in the area, are in need of a lot of work.
The Washington Trails Association is holding a number of work parties on the trial beginning April 28. They welcome volunteers to come out and help spruce up the trails.
“We are going to be doing some annual maintenance and getting the trail back up to snuff for visitors,” said Kindra Ramos, director of communications and outreach for WTA. “I think it’s going to be a very popular year. Folks are definitely excited to explore out there.”
Crews will be clearing trees that have fallen across the trail, improving drainage, repairing the trail bed, clearing brush and doing any other work that’s needed.
Volunteers need to wear boots and long pants and bring gloves, lunch and water. WTA will provide all tools and training. No experience is required.
Volunteers should be comfortable walking in a mile or so while carrying a tool. While volunteers are asked to stay for the entire day, you’re welcome to take as many breaks as you need. There’s even a specifically scheduled chocolate break.
“Everyone works at their own speed and ability. You shouldn’t be intimidated by the work. It’s like gardening with bigger tools,” Ramos said. “It’s really about making sure people are safe and having a good time.”
For those who would like to stay more than a day, there will be camping available with WTA near the trailhead.
“For a lot of us, (trail work) is just a great way to give back to the place we love,” Ramos said. “It’s just a great sense of accomplishment, to look back at the end of the day. It’s amazing how much you can do in just a single day.”
To sign up to volunteer, go to www.wta.org/volunteer/trail-work-parties. Sign up at least 48 hours in advance. If you volunteer two or more days on the Suiattle or other Forest Service lands, you can earn a free Northwest Forest Pass.
Work parties last from 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. and are scheduled on March 28-May 1 and May 5-8. More work will be planned in the area later in the summer. Watch the WTA website for details.
“For a whole generation of hikers this is their first time to get out there,” Ramos said. “I think it’s going to a popular area. It’s going to be important to remember to tread lightly while we are there and be respectful to our fellow hikers.”