Made by Hand! New Route Opens on Mailbox Peak
On National Public Lands Day, the ribbon will be cut on a trail to the summit of one of Puget Sound's most popular destinations. A new trail was scoped and built to the summit of the popular Mailbox Peak. WTA helped build a new trail that offers a 5.25-mile alternate route that safely and sustainably transports hikers up the mountain. It even offers some of the steepness of the original route, without the treacherous descent.
On Sept. 27, National Public Lands Day, the ribbon will be cut on a trail to the summit of one of Puget Sound's most popular destinations: Mailbox Peak.
Notorious for its original straight-up route, the popular user-built trail up Mailbox Peak has been used as a training hike for years. But the original trail is a lesson in erosion, where tread has worn away, exposing tree roots and dangerously steep spots.
To remedy the danger and protect the recently established Middle Fork Snoqualmie Natural Resource Conservation Area, a new trail was scoped and built to the summit of the popular peak. The three-year project is the first of many recreation enhancement projects scheduled for the beautiful Middle Fork Snoqualmie River Valley.
Partnerships, volunteers, teens make the new trail possible
The Washington Department of Natural Resources contracted with our partners at Mountains to Sound Greenway to build the new trail. With help from Washington Trails Association, EarthCorps and Washington Conservation Corps, the trail project has created a 5.25-mile sustainable route for hikers to safely climb the mountain. The new route offers some of the steepness of the original route; it links up with the old route near the top for the final push to the summit, but hikers can now skip the treacherous, knee-jarring descent.
Between 2012 and 2013, WTA volunteers hauled rock, carefully constructing the lower half of this trail. Over the course of 41 work parties, volunteers donated 477 days to creating a new, safer way to the summit.
Several youth groups also helped on this project, including Boy Scout Troop 500, Seattle Homeschool, and YMCA BOLD (pictured above), who participated in 15 work parties and helped reinforce switchbacks with solidly built rock walls.
In addition to rock walls, maintenance crews used large paving stones to build fords at water crossings, and moved loads of dirt to created rock turnpikes (sections of raised trail) which will keep hikers' feet high and dry on the way up the mountain.
Before/after: The work was done quickly; in the photo below, volunteers transformed a section of trail from puddly bog to beautifully sculpted turnpike in just one day!
Ribbon Cutting for new Mailbox Peak Trail
Washington State Commissioner of Public Lands Peter Goldmark will speak during the ribbon-cutting ceremony about the partnerships that made this new trail a reality and the future potential of the Middle Fork Valley.
Where: Mailbox Peak Trailhead
When: September 27, 2014 - National Public Lands Day
Time: 9:00 a.m.