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Share Your Passion: Help WTA Do More for Trails

Posted by Jessi Loerch at Sep 30, 2019 10:20 AM |

WTA is looking for volunteer ambassadors to be champions for trails and public lands all across the state. Can you help? Apply now!

Have you been known to take up a cause — and then inspire your friends to help, too? Are you passionate about trails, and wonder what more you can do to help ensure people can get outside?  If this sounds like you, WTA’s volunteer Ambassador Program might be the next step on your path.

We’re looking for people in every part of the state to be WTA’s eyes, ears and voice — because trails and public lands need champions in every community. Apply now; the deadline is November 1.

We are especially looking for ambassadors in the following counties: Chelan, Kittitas, Okanogan, Pierce, Spokane, Thurston, Yakima and on the Olympic Peninsula (especially Clallum, Grays and Pacific counties). 

Read on to learn more about the program, and what it’s like to be a WTA ambassador from a current ambassador, Todd Dunfield.

Todd Dunfield shares his passion for trails as a WTA ambassador. He spoke at WTA's hiker potluck over the summer. Photo by James Moschella. 

WTA's Ambassador Program, which we launched last year, is a way for us to work toward our goals of creating a sustainable trail system and ensuring equitable access to trails. We are building a community that can be a powerful, influential force for trails and the policies that affect them.

WTA has representatives across the state. Some ambassadors have full-time jobs, some are retired, and some are students. All are busy people who make time to give back. They serve as the organization’s eyes, ears and voice on the ground, empowering others and strengthening the hiking community to protect and champion trails and public lands.

Ambassadors raise the visibility of WTA by staffing outreach booths, serving on advisory committees and giving presentations to local groups about WTA and priority campaigns, among the other work they do to support WTA’s goals.

Todd Dunfield is one of WTA’s ambassadors in Eastern Washington. He helps us stay aware and informed about issues that affect trails in his area.

Todd Dunfield is an ambassador for WTA in Eastern Washington. Photo courtesy Todd Dunfield. 

Todd first got to know WTA in 2001 while he was getting his master’s degree at Gonzaga University, where he was an adviser to the outdoor adventure and recreation club.

“Being a Jesuit school, the philosophy was: If we’re going to do all these trips, we should give back to the environment in some way,” he said. “So I did my first work party at Franklin Falls Park. I like the ‘Be safe, have fun and get some work done’ motto — that stuck with me, and I stuck around to do more work parties, eventually becoming an orange hat and then a blue hat.”

Eventually, Todd served on WTA’s board. Now, he is the community conservation program manager of the Inland Northwest Land Conservancy, a nonprofit that connects people to nature by conserving the lands and water on which life depends.

Todd jumped at the opportunity to be an ambassador. He says it’s a way for him to continue to give back. He has been working on a planning process at Riverside State Park to expand the park and shape how the land will be used in the future. He also helps out at Trails and Ales in Spokane, where he chats with folks who may be discovering WTA for the first time.

“Being a WTA ambassador is worth it to me because I’m able to share my excitement with more than just people who participate in the trail maintenance program,” he said. “There are other ways — through advocacy or being knowledgeable about trails in their own backyard — that they can engage. I see huge potential in the WTA hiking community of the Inland Northwest for becoming a powerful voice and force for trails.”