Storms: Damage to Your Favorite Trail
This past week our trails have been overwhelmed by water and wind. These two forces of nature can cause trails and roads to close down... Sometimes forever! A lot of the damage to high elevation hikes won't be known until late spring or early summer.
- WIND- Trees downed on trails is the common result from major wind storms and in some cases avalanches. Have you ever hiked on a trail that has not been logged out? It is not easy, but then again, it's not easy to be on a sawyer team logging trails out either. Imagine your favorite trail. Now imagine that same trail with logs scattered all along it, you playing a virtual game of Pick-up-sticks.
- WATER ON TRAILS- Washouts can cause needed rebuild of hundreds of feet to a trail or a complete bridge replacement. This spread out amongst all of our trails, is months worth of work all added together. Simple drainage issues cause backups that lead to washouts and erosion. Trails can literally disappear over a long Winter.
- WATER ON BACKROADS- If a dirt road to a trailhead is washed out by excessive water, the costs are very high to fix them. Roads are more often talked about not reopening after a washout. If a road does get approval to be fixed, it might be years later before funding is allocated.
It has become one of our goals to help inspire hikers to give back as much as we possibly can by giving information and inspiration. We don't count our hours or require any back patting because we are rewarded with the feeling of accomplishment and the reassurance of open roads and trails.
Friends For Public Use is the only volunteer organization that we know about helping keep roads in better shape. All ages are okay to join in on their work parties in the Darrington Ranger District. They also have a road adoption plan for those interested in a bigger effort.
Pacific Crest Trail Association has been growing in Washington the past few years and needs more help. Their main focus is the PCT and it's major feeder trails. They offer many great, free classes to better your personal trail skills and knowledge. The PCTA's steward program lets hikers adopt a section of the trail to oversee!
As the wind blows and the rain pours down, think about the shape your favorite hike is going to be in this Spring. Start the volunteer process now and get signed up.
If you want to join a Friends For Public Use or Pacific Crest Trail Association work party, you can email us- firstname.lastname@example.org
Brian Berggren has a great comment on this article and I wanted to highlight one of his points, "Photo's photo's and more photo's! A picture is worth a thousand words and it does not exaggerate or down play the damage." Take your time to read through his added words!