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Trail Volunteer Opportunities

For information on trail work parties and volunteer opportunities, check this forum often. As a PCT enthusiast and volunteer your efforts keep the crown jewel shining!

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Trail Volunteer Opportunities

Postby North 350 Blades » Fri Feb 06, 2015 11:48 am's been nearly 5 months since I've posted....ok, well, it has been mostly the winter time and mostly our off season.

With the 2015 hiking and trail maintenance season rapidly approaching, NOW is the time to start thinking about where you'll volunteer on the PCT. Up here in the northern reaches of the trail, there is a LOT of planning that has already taken place. Projects are posted and will open for sign ups soon, or will be posted soon.

Some context: Late in 2014, the road up the Suiattle River was finally repaired and reopened after being closed since 2003 storms. These are the same storms that washed out the PCT bridge over the Suiattle River. The PCT bridge was replaced (several miles down stream) a couple years back. But the road was just opened. During these last 10+ years, little maintenance has happened on or around Glacier Peak since access has been so challenging. For 2015 and beyond, all the trail crews (PCTA, WTA and the BCWH) will be engaged in a coordinated, focused effort to get the PCT on and near Glacier Peak back up to the standard befitting a national scenic trail. Note that logouts near Glacier peak involve old growth in big "W" Wilderness, so if you want to clear massive blowdown with a 2 person old school crosscut saw, here's your chance.

Let's start with the great folks at Washington Trails Association. They do a great job, not only on the PCT,but on all trails in Washington. But lets focus on their PCT projects, and PCT feeder trail projects, for now.

Their Volunteer Vacations and Backcountry Response Team (BCRT) trips are now posted and will open for sign up on Saturday February 7th at 10:00am. The most popular trips fill up in hours, so be aware of this and sign up quick if you see one of their trips you want to be part of.

Volunteer Vacations are:
June 20-27 near the Suiattle River - logout
July 4-11 near the Suiattle River - Logout

BCRTs are:
May 22-May 25 near the Suiattle River - Logout (this will be clearing the access to the PCT for the volunteer vacations, both youth and adult)
July 26-July 31 - High Bridge (Near Stehekin) to Suiattle Pass logout (note very strenuous).
Sept 1 - Sept 5 PCT - Cathedral Rock to Mt Daniel Ford BCRT in the Alpine Lakes Wilderness.

Youth Volunteer Vacation:
June 27-July 4 near the Suiattle River - Logout
July 5-July 10 North Fork Sauk River Trail (access to the south side of Glacier Peak)
August 8-23 Indian Pass (south of Glacier peak).

Note how the trips near Glacier Peak all fit together - the May BCRT opens the way for the youth and regular volunteer vacations June 20, June 27 and July 4 to push log out teams to the PCT and clear to the north, toward Stehekin. Then there is a BCRT July 26-31 to clear from Suiattle Pass north to Stehekin - the trail from the Suiattle River to Stehekin will be logged out in 2015. The July 5 N. Fork Sauk will help improve the access to the south side of Glacier Peak to help enable the August 8-23 crew at Indian Pass.

All the logistics of these trips in the Glacier Peak area will be provided by the Back Country Horsemen of Washington, the BCHW. Don't let folks say that horses are a detriment to the trail - without our friends at the BCHW these trips into deep Wilderness with well supplied crews are simply impossible logistically. We NEED their horses and mules to pack in the food, fuel, basecamp and tools to enable the volunteers to work hard on the trail. The BCHW will also be supporting a Blades project by packing in very heavy timbers for a bridge approach project. We simply couldn't carry those timbers in. They'll also be having a multi-chapter project to repair puncheon in the Snoqualmie Pass area, in addition to their normal log out activities from Government Meadow on down to Chinook Pass.

The local PCTA crew, the North 350 Blades will also be doing a lot. But, since we're not quite ready to reveal our schedule, I'll have to hold it back for the next post. Suffice it to say that it dovetails in nicely with what WTA is doing near Glacier Peak, plus we'll be working other parts of the trail in Washington as well.

While I'm focusing on "our" neck of the woods, don't forget that there are volunteers up and down the length of the PCT. Join them - they have tools, hard hats and training waiting for willing volunteers. Want to "angel" for the hikers, consider instead of yet another "food stop" for the hikers, what the hikers really want is good trail to hike - wading through brush sucks, and crawling over, under, and around blowdown is no fun. You'll do more for the hikers with a Pulaski, crosscut or lopper in hand than a burger flipper.

Hope to see you on the trail -hiking or on crew.

North 350 Blades
North 350 Blades
Posts: 46
Joined: Mon Jan 07, 2013 12:15 pm

Re: Trail Volunteer Opportunities

Postby North 350 Blades » Sun Feb 08, 2015 10:04 am

The North 350 Blades announced our major projects for 2015 yesterday at the Mid Winter Social. We'll be moving into new areas this season - Glacier Peak being the most prominent. At the same time, we'll continue to maintain those areas we've taken on these last several years.

Sign ups for these projects will be appearing on the Pacific Crest Trail Association website over the coming days and weeks as we get these projects posted there.

Without further adieu, here they are:

May 15-16: Social in Concrete (North Cascades Highway). Overnight camping. Hiking, fun and games. There will be dinner and breakfast on Saturday night / Sunday morning. We wanted a social gathering more convenient for our North Puget Sound volunteers. Come on out and meet your fellow trail volunteers. We may also arrange an optional day work party in the Darrington area as part of this - exact details on that part are TBD at this point.

June 14-20: Glacier Peak North / Vista Ridge logout, tread and brushing. This will be a horse supported backcountry Wilderness trip and is part of a far larger plan by the USFS, PCTA, WTA and BCHW to start taking care of the years of backlog in the Glacier Peak area. If you want to saw old growth blowdown with crosscuts, this is your chance. Oh, and we’ll probably lop some brush and fix tread as well.

July 11-12: Stevens Pass North. We’ll continue our work north from the highway at Stevens Pass. There will be tread work plus power brushing. The Dinsmores in Baring have graciously offered the use of their hiker haven for a Saturday night car camp, making it a lot easier for folks to do both days without having to commute back home. There are showers available. We’ll cook up dinner, breakfast and have lunch fixings for Sunday for the multi-day volunteers.

July 16-19: Blowout Mountain / Green Pass (~40 trail miles south of Snoqualmie Pass I-90). Access is via either Highway 410 east of Chinook Pass or from I-90. This 4 day car camp weekend will continue tread restoration and reconstruction started last year. Views of Mt. Rainier are in the area. We’ll have a camp cook on this one, so expect some excellent grub from dinner the first night through lunch the last day.

August 7-10: White Pass (Glacier Peak South). This is a Steward led trip with a N350 Blades crew leader assisting. The hike up the North Fork Sauk is long, steep and strenuous and will take the whole first day. But wow, it’s worth it for the location! Tread and drainage work will follow the next two days on this self-supported back pack trip and the hike out will be the 4th day. Note: Very strenuous.

August 28-30: Windy Pass (about 5 miles south of Snoqualmie Pass / I-90). We’ll be working bridge approaches with help from the BCWH. There are several small bridges with large steps and out-of-level surfaces, making them unsafe for equestrians and unpleasant for hikers. We’ll level the bridges and build ramp approaches. Saturday night, we’ll take our coolers and chairs to the trail to cheer on the runners of the Cascade Crest 100 – our 5th year doing so. We’ll have a camp cook on this one.

In addition to the above major projects, we will continue our tradition of clearing the winter blow down from the PCT from several miles north of Snoqualmie Pass south for over 40 trail miles to Blowout Mountain. We'll do this with a series of day trips which will be announced once snow conditions allow us to get to the trail.

There will also be many trips that our Stewards will be running on their adopted sections, similar to the August 7-10 trip listed above. They'll vary from single days to multiple days - it will depend on what the Steward is planning to do. We'll be putting out calls for volunteers to join Stewards who request additional help.

As is always the case, we'll also have many single day projects of varying character through out the 2015 maintenance season. We'll announce those via this e-mail list and on our Facebook page.

Camp cooks, drivers, scouts and other non-field work support volunteers. If digging in the dirt or pulling on a crosscut saw isn't your cup of tea, but you still want to help, we can certainly use you as part of the crew. Some of our projects need camp cooks / hosts – duties would be to be the primary cook (with assistance from the crew lead and other volunteers). Other projects can use volunteer drivers to help shuttle the field crews to / from their entry and exit locations - if you have a vehicle suitable for forest roads, we'd love to have your help. This is especially the case with log out trips where having the crew "hike through" a section clearing blow down as they go is far more efficient than doing an "out and back". We also need scouts – those willing to hike the trail and provide detailed condition reports so we know where to send crews.

We hope to see you out with us in 2015.
North 350 Blades
Posts: 46
Joined: Mon Jan 07, 2013 12:15 pm

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