Meet WTA's Newest Trail Mentors
Our volunteer assistant crew leaders—better known by the orange hard hats they wear—have stepped up to be leaders on trail for a variety of reasons: camaraderie, a call to stewardship, the restorative powers of wilderness in a modern world. From favorite trail snack to where you'll run into them on trail, learn what makes our newest nine orange hats tick.
On a work party, the crew leader—the person wearing the blue hard hat—is in charge. But WTA work parties often have so many enthusiastic volunteers that the crew leader sometimes needs a little extra help. Enter our volunteer assistant crew leaders, better known (and easily identified) by the orange hard hats they wear.
ACLs start as green hats--new volunteers who learn the ins and outs of trailwork and, as they learn, display great leadership or interpersonal skills. Once they're trained to be ACLs, orange hats help the crew leader by providing guidance and a helping hand to volunteers, as well as insight and feedback to the crew leader when it comes to the project at hand. This season, we're happy to announce several new volunteer orange hats joining our team. Come to a work party in your area and you just might meet one of these excellent individuals.
Where you'll see Mike: On trails near Vancouver.
Favorite tool: The Pulaski, of course! For a history of this tool, read The Big Burn by Timothy Egan
Favorite snack on trail: Trail mix
First WTA work party: Quartz Creek trail deep in the heart of Dark Divide roadless area in the Gifford Pinchot National Forest.
Why did you volunteer? I wanted to hike and engage in trail work in areas of the state I probably would never experience on my own. I also like to meet and work with great people and have fun with cool tools!
Where you'll see Cindy: On trails near Vancouver.
Favorite tool: The green grubber! It does it all: grubbing, digging, scrapping off duff and even hacking through rotten stumps.
Favorite snack on trail: I love bringing apples on the trail. They are juicy, crunchy and sweet.
First WTA work party: Coyote Wall in the Columbia River Gorge. Beautiful views but also poison ivy!
Why did you volunteer? Getting out onto trails in areas I'd never been to before got me to volunteer. The amazing crew leaders and volunteers are the reason I kept coming back.
Where you'll see Jonathan: On trails around the Olympic Peninsula
Favorite tool: Rock Bar
Favorite snack on trail: Dark Chocolate
First WTA work party: My first work party was on the Pratt River Connector, but I first learned about WTA at Trail Skills College down in the Columbia Gorge
Why did you volunteer? I am impressed by the quality of work done by WTA, and volunteering makes me feel like I'm making a difference.
Where you'll see John: On trails in or around Bellingham.
Favorite tool: I seem to have an overall tool fetish, but after going on a crosscutting adventure I really do like the crosscut saw. Prior to that I suppose it would be the pick mattock.
Favorite snack on trail: I have yet do a work party without Hempler's pepperoni sticks & cheese.
First WTA work party: The Rock Trail in Larrabee State Park
Why did you volunteer? I started out working with another organization on the Rock Trail, but attended a WTA-led crew leader training on building stairs. I was really impressed with the structure and the professionalism and camaraderie of the group, all things I have come to appreciate and enjoy with every work party I've been a part of since.
Where you'll see Chris: On trails from Seattle to Bellingham.
Favorite tool: A grub hoe for the day to day, and a grip hoist when the situation calls for it.
Favorite snack on trail: Leftover pizza
First WTA work party: Dansville-Georgetown trails
Why did you volunteer? WTA's model of promoting both land use and stewardship is essential for the present and future of conservation. I'm just happy to be a part of it.
Where you'll see Peter: On trails near Bellingham.
Favorite tool: Grub hoe
Favorite snack on trail: Fruit—apples mostly, not counting the candy, of course.
First WTA work party: Anderson and Watson Lakes
Why did you volunteer? I enjoy taking things apart and improving them, or building stuff. Since my wife and I like to hike and enjoy the trails in Washington, it is our way of giving back.
Where you'll see Rebecca: On trails in Puget Sound.
Favorite tool: The Pulaski. It does a great variety of work and doesn't weigh much.
Favorite snack on trail: Anything with nuts and dark chocolate!
First WTA work party: I first joined WTA in 2004 for a weekend work party at Cutthroat Lake with crew leader Mike Owens. We dragged a huge log through the woods and placed it into position as a stringer for a new bridge.
Why did you volunteer? I joined WTA to find like-minded friends and explore the wealth of Washington's trails. What I received was way more than that ... the deeply felt appreciation of fellow hikers and crew, and a real understanding of the restorative powers of wilderness to balance my "modern" life.
Where you'll see David: Trails on the Olympic Peninsula.
Favorite tool: Pulaski.
Favorite snack on trail: Large Snickers candy bar
First WTA work party: Colonel Bob BCRT
Why did you volunteer? The primary reason for my desire to help WTA is that I have been backpacking since 1967 and felt that it was time to give back to the many trails that gave me so much pleasure over those any years.
Where you'll see Richard: On trails near Seattle.
Favorite tool: A McLeod, because it is most often used as a finishing tool, meaning some tread work is about done and looking good.
Favorite snack on trail: The 10:00 candy, especially the plain M&Ms, and rehydrating with Muscle Milk at lunch.
First WTA work party: The first trail I worked on with WTA was on the northeast corner of Cougar Mountain. We were building new trail to bypass where the original trail dipped onto private property.
Why did you volunteer? I began doing trail work with the Pacific Crest Trail Association, where I became a class A sawyer and attended their trail college. Many of those folks talked about working with WTA when the PCT was under snow, so I followed suit and have become hooked!
Where you'll see Anna: Mostly Puget Sound, Bellingham and Olympics work parties, but I hope to make it to Spokane next summer!
Favorite tool: Grubhoe, Pulaski, Corona--anything that helps me remove roots and rocks.
Favorite snack on trail: Berries if it's summer. If not, apples and medium cheddar cheese are my fallback.
First WTA work party: Lower Big Quilcene trail on National Public Lands Day 2012.
Why did you volunteer? I was looking for a way to get more involved in Washington's outdoor community in a constructive way. Also my friend's aunt has a house on the Peninsula and we were itching for an excuse to come stay with her.
Where you'll see Steve: All over the state!
First WTA work party: Middle Fork Snoqualmie Trail