Saturday, November 18, 2006

2006 Floods, What Can You Do To Help

An selfish plug for the Washington Trails Association which is responsible, in major part, for the enjoyment we get from hiking the wilderness. I support them 100% and I'm hoping you will too.

Oregon (as well as other western states) have also suffered extensive road and trail damage as the picture below shows very vividly. This is the bridge over White River on Hwy 35, a prime access route to Mt Hood for skiers and snowboarders. Rick

Down River Side of White River Bridge. The top of the pile on the bridge is level with the upstream side of the bridge meaning about 15-20 ft of fill. Photo credit and copyright TheGreatSunra (Flickr nick)

The Signpost

2006 floods: What you can do to help
Posted by: Andrew Engelson at 1:18PM on Nov 17, 2006 | Link to this thread
Filed under: Trail Maintenance, Trails Funding & Policy, Hiking News

Broken trail bridge, Mount RainierThe question on many hikers' minds after the catastrophic floods of last week is: What can I do to help? Read a statement from WTA about last week's floods here, and then take action:


WTA will certainly be working on many storm-damaged trails, but the vast majority of this work won't begin until the melt-out next spring. We won't even know the full extent of the damage to places like the Wonderland Trail until the snows lift next year. Make a New Year's Resolution to join at least one work party in 2007. Consider taking off a week next year to participate in a WTA Volunteer Vacation. Talk to your coworkers about getting together a group trail work party. For more information on setting up group trail work parties contact Alyssa Kreider at or call 206-965-8561.

File a Trip Report

If you're out on a road or trail and witness flood damage, there are some things you can do. (And please remember that many roads are bad shape and quite dangerous. NEVER attempt to drive across a flooded road, or drive around posted road closures. Road and trail bridges can have unsafe structural damage that's not obviously visible. PLEASE exercise caution when you're out there).
You can file a trip report on WTA's web site, noting the exact location and nature of the damage. Land managers frequently look at WTA trip reports when planning trail work needs. Photos are also very helpful. WTA is currently looking into ways to consolidate trail and road damage information online to make it more useful to land managers, our trail crews and hikers.

Make a Financial Contribution

At the point, probably the most meaningful thing you can do is to make a donation to WTA. If you haven't yet become a member, consider doing so now. WTA is very efficient in how it puts your dollars to work for trails--we leverage volunteer hours to apply for grants, and our small crew of paid summer crew leaders train and manage the 1,600 volunteers out there each year fixing our trails. Today's Puget Sound Business Journal profiled Washington Trails Association as a non-profit that efficiently uses volunteer hours and donations to get work done.
If you'd like to make a donation specific to trail maintenance, the Greg Ball Trail Fund is specifically targeted for work on the ground.

Contact Your Representative

Write a brief e-mail to your Congressional Representative and U.S. Senators Patty Murray and Maria Cantwell telling them that you're an avid hiker and that you're astounded at the level of damage across the Cascades and Olympics. Tell them that by adequately funding our National Parks and National Forests, we can get started on rebuilding. Tell them that you support the American Hiking Society's modest funding proposals:

  • Forest Service Recreation Management, Heritage and Wilderness program: $275 million
  • Forest Service Capital Improvement and Maintenance/Trails funding: $90 million
  • Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF): stateside: $100 million; federal $220 million
  • National Park Service operations: $1.868 billion
Photo of damaged trail bridge at Ohanapecosh River courtesy Mount Rainier National Park.

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