Washington State recreation is in crisis mode.
Known for its beauty, Washington State without a doubt has a large urban population who have either lived their entire lives or have moved here to enjoy the scenic outdoors of the region.
A Right or Entitlement
Recently our state made the news with pictures of hikers and trail usage on rocky hillsides with no social distancing and going against the wishes of our leaders.
Wildlife at Risk
Park workers and rangers have been pushed to the max and have had to issue no trespassing signs on thousands of trailheads where hikers refuse to follow good judgement and feel entitled to use them anyway.
This past weekend rangers started towing cars at popular trailheads that were closed.
It goes without saying, it is getting ugly in the iconic outdoors of the Pacific Northwest.
Outside in is all about this one person outdoor enthusiast who is now found caught-up indoors. It is moral belief to follow the recommendations of our leaders because we must do all we can to stop the spread of this disease and protect our lands.
Here’s the story.
Friday last week I was notified my volunteer work as an ambassador for Washington Trails Association had ended abruptly.
My supervisor, Crystal Gartner with Washington Trails Association emailed me with a very professional and heartfelt letter that her duties were being turned over to another WTA employee, mostly due to the recent Covid-19 outbreak that has rocked the world and our country.
Washington Trails Association
A bit about Washington Trails Association. It exists as a non-profit organization and with the economy taking this downward turn, WTA has decided to reallocate funding (what little they have) and focus on trail reports only that empower its members to make informed choices while choosing a hike outdoors. WTA runs a giant data base with hiking information at your fingertips.
I would like to spend more time on another post why WTA is such a class act when it comes to organizations but, the top reason I chose to volunteer there is because it was first, an interest of mine and second, the focus of inclusion, equity and diversity while creating access and protecting and maintaining our trails.
Back to Crystal, I’m reading between the lines here but, one can only summarize in Crystal’s well written letter, many programs that co-exist as public service and help maintain trails in parks were cut.
Left in existence as of today is the online trail or trip reports with all other projects being cancelled. This means, no trail maintenance, no advocacy, no gear library, no ambassador program, no Trail Newsletter and blog, etc.
Washington State Parks, lands and trails are in crisis mode as trails are overrun and are now at risk of being destroyed by our love. A right yes, but so many organizations have come to depend on non-profits.
One idea the talented employees left WTA with last weekend was a hope of filing trail reports with titles of “My Neighborhood” and “My Backyard” in order to show others the correct way on the trail as of today.
My Neighborhood Hike
The following is my trip report on Washington Trails Association
…It took two dandelions to find four hours of bliss today.
I located the specimens on my way out on a neighborhood run this morning. Upon my return home I found solitude with my camera and faced the daytime with future fractals.
It’s amazing how a few practice shots and some common items around the house can provide hours of entertainment and peace.
My friends are among the backyard flowers as they return social distancing that is required for my survival.
It is an act of moral responsibility by saying above all else, I care enough about the future of our environment to not go to into the woods.
8 thoughts on “Outside In”
Terrible news about WTA. Forgot about the neglect that will be taking place to maintain our trails. Bummer.
Seriously, it is shocking to thing about the ramifications to the environment right now. There was a big project up at Rainier on the north side scheduled and a big project in the Snoquera region that sits adjacent to the west of the Pacific Crest Trail that are on hold. All other trail maintenance projects are on hold as well. It is going to take a long time to recover from this I’m sure.
Amazing photos! It is sad to see the maintenance programs on hold. Really hope those who are visiting the trails are respecting the landscape.
WTA. A great organization that I have supported for years with volunteer time and with monetary donations. I haven’t seen any email traffic sharing this devastation. I can imagine that many not normally hikers are now taking to the trails to escape this chaos but to hike on closed trails is risky as we hikers know. Sad!!! Just plain sad! Thanks for sharing this on your blog.
Stay healthy and stay safe.
The email went out to ambassadors a week ago 😦
Thanks, you stay healthy and safe as well.
We are doing our best. I haven’t seen anything to the WTA supporters. Wonder when they will let us know. I am ready to send a donation now if needed.
Right now, the focus has turned to the online webpage. My direct supervisor has given her duties over to another person. I doubt members will see too much change on the website as they reorganize and come up with a plan.