- Donate Now
- Who we support
- How we work
- Do your share
- EarthShare @ Work
- Engagement tools
- News & Media
This month WTA is working in several locations that need some special attention, and we'd love to have your help! Join us for a day full of safety, fun, and work, and make your mark on the trails you love.Olympic Peninsula - Notch Pass
September 9, 13
WTA will be doing some annual maintenance on this short, lovely, and very old trail that we relocated several years ago and re-opened from the Quilcene side. It now climbs through a notch in the rugged Quilcene Range and then traverses the mountains, providing a wonderful window into the past.
The trail is believed to have been a Native American trade route across the Olympics. Help us maintain it now so that future generations can appreciate the same look back in time it provides hikers today.
September 20, 21
Ridley Creek is located east of Bellingham near Mount Baker. The trail follows the Ridley Creek drainage to Mazama Park, passing through impressively large groves of western hemlock and Alaska yellow cedar. Once at Mazama Park, you'll bask in expansive views of Mount Baker and the Sisters.
We'll be working on getting this trail passable again after a lengthy hiatus from routine maintenance. The work could include clearing, logging out, fixing washed-out tread and improving drainage -- whatever your preferred type of maintenance, there will be a chance to do it at Ridley Creek.
September 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28
Help WTA and the City of Sammamish establish a trail system on its newest park property. Formerly farmland, the park is home to 179 acres of wetland, wooded uplands, and wide open fields.
After helping complete and open two miles of trail earlier this year, our work parties are moving onto building a trail connecting the fields to the uplands. In addition to new trail construction, you may get the chance to build some structures, including bridges or turnpike.
Join us for a day of trail improvements and maintenance within Spokane's Iller Creek Conservation Area. This lush riparian corridor is home to a multitude of animal species, including white-tailed deer and Rocky Mountain elk.
WTA needs your help to reconstruct a steeply eroded section of trail that runs along the east ridge of Iller Creek Trail near the top. The work will involve digging tread, brushing, drainage work and other activities. Join us on the 28th and perhaps glimpse a red-tailed hawk soaring overhead.
One of my favorite weekend activities is hopping on my bike and peddling down to the waterfront for a bike ride. As I ride down the path I pass picnicking families, joggers, dog walkers, and other cyclists. To my left the river is spotted with groups of paddlers on rented kayaks from the boathouses set up along the waterfront. I’m sure many of you living in cities along rivers share a similar experience.
Rivers flowing through urban areas can be hubs for recreation and economic activity. When cared for they offer natural spaces that provide a refreshing break from the hustle and bustle of the city. I was recently in Dayton, Ohio to participate in the Clean Sweep of the Great Miami River with Cox Enterprises through their Cox Conserves program for their fifth year cleaning up the Great Miami River. As the event organizers from Cox Media Group Ohio and I walked along the Great Miami River watching ducks play in the current and turtles sunbathe on logs it was hard to believe that just a few blocks away was downtown Dayton.Volunteers spread out along the banks picking up trash and digging out tires. | Lisa Powell – Dayton Daily News
A dam removal and river restoration project is slated to begin along the banks of the Great Miami River in Dayton this fall that will make the river safer for paddlers and the banks more accessible to the public. Cox Enterprises understands how important a healthy river is for the community. Not only is Cox Enterprises a supporter of the dam removal and restoration project but they are willing to get their hands dirty to keep this beautiful space clean.
On July 18th I joined 64 volunteers from Cox Media Group Ohio and Manheim Cincinnati along the banks of the Great Miami River for a river cleanup as part of the Clean Sweep of the Great Miami River. Volunteers spread out across a quarter mile stretch of the river picking up trash and debris from the banks. A group of volunteers even jumped right in, dug through the mud, and pulled 32 tires from the river! At the end of the morning the volunteers cleaned up a whopping 5,000 pounds of trash and debris!Downtown Dayton isn’t far from the stretch of river volunteers cleaned up. | Lisa Powell – Dayton Daily News
Cleanups like this are important because keeping the riverfront clean encourages more people to come out and appreciate these beautiful spaces in their own backyard. American Rivers and National River Cleanup are excited to work with Cox Conserves and to visit Dayton and the banks of the Great Miami River again next summer.
Agriculture and working landscapes play an integral role in Colorado. Colorado agriculture contributes $ 41 billion to the state economy and employs 171,921 people. Working farms and ranches also substantially contribute to Colorado’s recreation economy through a growing agritourism industry.
Agriculture also remains critical to the economy of many rural Colorado communities, which depend heavily on wholesale, retail, banking, and support services related to agricultural production. Well managed, working agricultural lands also contribute to watershed health, and conservation of these private lands and their associated water rights is critical to the maintenance of many native species of Colorado wildlife. Working agricultural lands also help maintain the open spaces and scenic vistas that Coloradans (and tourists) know and love.
Unfortunately, many farmers and ranchers in Colorado face an uncertain future due to limited water supplies and growing demands. In the State Water Supply Initiative 2010, Colorado’s population is projected to nearly double to between 8.6 and 10 million people by 2050, mostly in urban areas along the Front Range. As a result, by 2050 Colorado will need between 830,000 and 1.7 million acre-feet of additional water for municipal needs.
In order to meet these demands, cities are turning to agriculture as “the most important, and perhaps final, large reservoir of water available for urban use in the arid U.S. West.” Thirsty cities are looking to agriculture for several reasons. For example, many rivers in Colorado are either fully or over appropriated, meaning that more junior water rights will only yield water during limited periods. To address this concern, cities will often seek to purchase more senior agricultural water rights to increase the volume and reliability of their own supply through a legal process known as a water transfer, which is essentially a voluntary, permanent or temporary change in the way a water right is used (e.g. irrigation to municipal).
Traditional ag-to-urban transfers often require that irrigation ceases on the agricultural lands (e.g. fallowing) and are often referred to as “buy-and-dry” transfers. Buy-and-dry can have tremendous third party impacts on rural economies and the environment in the watershed of origin. Many water planners indicate that traditional transfers will continue to be an important component of any future water supply portfolio in Colorado. As a result, between 500,000 and 700,000 irrigated acres could be dried-up by 2050 primarily due to urbanization and ag-to-urban transfers. The Colorado Water Conservation Board (CWCB) is beginning to look at alternatives to buy-and-dry, because such a large-scale drying up of prime agricultural land would have adverse economic and environmental impacts.
Colorado is currently leading the effort to support alternative agricultural transfer methods (ATMs), which are voluntary water sharing agreements between irrigators and other water users that minimize the impact on local economies, provide other funding sources to the agricultural user, and optimize both the agricultural and nonagricultural benefits of the remaining lands. Common ATMs include interruptible supply agreements, water banks, rotational fallowing, purchase and leaseback, and agriculture water conservation methods like deficit irrigation. All of these alternatives could potentially help meet growing urban demands without permanently fallowing agricultural lands and may provide instream flow and riparian habitat benefits in certain circumstances.
With the exception of purchase and leasebacks and some limited occurrences of short-term leasing, ATMs are just beginning to be explored as viable options for meeting future water demands in Colorado. According to a draft chapter of Colorado’s Water Plan, the minimum amount of water needed from ATMs is approximately 50,000 acre feet, or enough water to serve as many as 350,000 people (about the current population of Aurora).
While this is a great starting point, the CWCB and other stakeholders should continue to work together to address the complex legal and economic issues facing the expanded use of ATMs, instead of pursuing the status quo path of continued buy-and-dry. To accomplish this goal, Colorado should continue to support cutting edge ATM demonstration and pilot projects through the CWCB’s long-standing ATM Grant Program, which provides financial assistance in developing and implementing creative alternatives to buy-and-dry. Past grant recipients include the Lower Arkansas Valley Water Conservancy District to support the ongoing Super Ditch project, which would provide a means for irrigators under a group of ditch companies to collectively lease agricultural water for other uses.
At the federal level, stakeholders should work with the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) through conservation programs like the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) and the new Regional Conservation Partnership Program (RCPP) to provide financial incentives to farmers and ranchers for participating in ATM demonstration and pilot projects. Individuals can also submit comments and input on Colorado’s Water Plan concerning working landscape and watershed conservation though the promotion of ATMs.
Altogether, Colorado should continue leading the charge on exploring alternatives to buy-and-dry and the fallowing of agricultural lands. Though many obstacles remain, ATMs present an exciting opportunity for policymakers, agricultural stakeholders, cities, and conservation groups to work collaboratively to conserve working landscapes and watersheds, while meeting the future water needs of all Coloradans and the environment.
With next weekend’s temperatures forecast for the upper 70s and low 80s, the Pacific Northwest’s September Summer continues. And we have ideas for your weekend trip – visit Snohomish County’s Stillaguamish Valley for a Bike and Hike adventure. We’re excited to partner with our friends at Washington Trails Association and Washington Wildlife and Recreation Coalition for their suggestions on where to hike in this fabulous gateway valley to the Glacier Peak Wilderness.
Additionally, be sure to join us 10:30 am Saturday morning at the Whitehorse Trail’s Fortson Mill Trailhead for a special event to join community leaders in celebrating the progress, partnerships, and potential of the Whitehorse Trail following the SR 530 landslide.
Nestled between impressive Cascade peaks at the northern tip of the Stillaguamish Valley, the town of Darrington is a hotbed of gravel adventure riding opportunities. Over 100 years of mining and logging industry have left a large network of gravel roads snaking their way through the forests around town.
The routes listed range from 5-23 miles. Because they all loop back to town, they can easily be combined for longer days in the saddle. Check out the Washington Bikes rundown on gravel grinding the Stilly.When you’ve had your fill of gravel adventure consider swinging by Mountain Loop Books and Coffee to refuel. The owner Tony bike toured across Ireland and loves to chat with his customers. Or quench your thirst at the newly opened Whiskey Ridge microbrewery located in the old City Hall building. Gateway to the Stilly: Centennial Trail from Arlington to Nakashima Barn With 12 trailheads across its 30-mile span, the Centennial Trail can be broken into a nearly endless number of rides for beginners to experts alike. One of the most scenic is the short stretch from downtown Arlington to the northern terminus of the trail at the old Nakashima Farm site. And at just 15.5 miles roundtrip on a flat, car-free multi-use path, the ride is truly accessible for anyone, families with children included.
Immediately north of Arlington, the Centennial Trail intersects with the Whitehorse Trail, a 27-mile rail corridor owned by Snohomish County Parks. The western segment that abuts the Centennial Trail is best suited for hikers, horses, and really fat mountain bike tires (note: seven miles of the Whitehorse Trail’s eastern section is very bikeable in Darrington). In response to the SR 530 tragedy in Oso, Washington Bikes is working with partners including Snohomish County Parks and leaders in Arlington and Darrington to coordinate and acquire funding to develop the entire 27-mile corridor to spur bike travel and tourism and connect the Stillaguamish Valley to a growing trail network across the Puget Sound.
The Centennial Trail ends 7.8 miles from Arlington at the site of the historical Nakashima Farm. The Nakashima Family bought the dairy farm in 1937 having worked on it for nearly 30 years prior. It was the first and, to-date, only dairy farm in Snohomish County owned by Asian Americans.
From there it’s just a matter of turning around and heading back the way you came to Arlington. Where you can enjoy the fantastic downtown with shops and restaurants, as well as Legion Park, which has a great Farmer’s Market from 10am to 3pm on Saturday.A Multi Day Adventure: USBR 10 or Mountain Loop Highway
Looking for an overnight ride this weekend? Start in Arlington and bike up the Stilly on SR 530 (remember to stay aware and not stop through the SR 530 landslide, especially as it will be one-way through September 20) and continue along through Darrington (stop by and enjoy the town!) SR 530 north to SR 20 (aka Washington’s first US Bicycle Route) and then loop back to Arlington. Bike Overnights provides a nice writeup of a recent adventure along this route.
Another option is to head south from Darrington along the Mountain Loop Highway and then around to Granite Falls. Spectacular scenery abounds. Rough Stuff Cycling Northwest took this loop the opposite way and provides great photos and some descriptions on their trip.Join us Saturday, September 13 to Celebrate the Partnerships, Progress and Potential of the Whitehorse Trail!
Completing the 27-mile Whitehorse Trail will connect Arlington and Darrington through the stunning Stillaguamish Valley and will tie into the Snohomish County Centennial Trail system. Activity to complete the Whitehorse Trail has gained traction in response to the SR 530 slide near Oso. As the residents of the Stillaguamish Valley seek to recover from the tragedy, completing the Whitehorse Trail serves as one economic redevelopment strategy to attract bike travel and tourism to the area.
Join us at the Fortson Mill Trailhead at 10:30 am on Saturday, September 13 to celebrate the partnerships, progress, and potential of the Whitehorse Trail for helping to redevelop the Stillaguamish Valley’s economy. We’ll be joined by elected officials and staff, as well as leaders from Darrington and Arlington to recognize the great work already accomplished and the task ahead.Bike and Hike this Weekend to Support the Stilly Valley
September’s a great time to get up to the Stillaguamish to support the communities hit hardest by the SR 530 landslide. At Washington Bikes, we’re proud to support Arlington, Darrington and the communities across the Stillaguamish Valley impacted by this natural disaster. Luckily with all of the great opportunities up and down the Stilly, it’s easy to enjoy the natural scenery and great attractions on your bike. Enjoy!Sign Up to Receive Updates on Biking in Snohomish County First name * First Last name * Last Email * City * Postal Code * Check here if you haven't ridden your bike in Snohomish County yet Not yet What types of information do you want us to provide to make your bike visit to Snohomish County fantastic? Tell us about your biking interests in general (check all that apply) Travel Rides/events Safety Education Policy/advocacy Infrastructure/connections
Local historian, environmental educator, restoration expert, WTA contributor and author Russell Hanbey has had a lifetime of getting to know Washington's backcountry through years of seasonal work with the Forest Service and the Student Conservation Association. In a new book, he brings the best of those stories to life.
Walking on Trees: Views from the Back Country opens in 1967 with Hanbey's first day on the job as a seasonal worker with the Darrington District in the Mount Baker National Forest. Imagine a 17-year-old young man making his way in the rough-and-tumble town of burly loggers and garrulous Forest Service workers!
Hanbey’s subtle, well-timed humor is cleverly placed within solid storytelling. Each story is a short page-turner—from a rescue of 18 people stuck on the wrong side of danger at Kennedy Hot Springs after a series of floods to poignant impressions of his duty as a fire lookout at Green Mountain.Meet the author and discover why the book is titled Walking on Trees
Hanbey is giving a series of a presentations about his new book around Washington, starting tomorrow.
Fall is coming quickly to the Sierra Nevada. As always, the region’s high elevation makes it one of the first places in California to display the change in season. For American Rivers, this means squeezing in a couple last field visits out to our Sierra meadow restoration sites before the weather turns sour, and ultimately before the snow flies.
One site we’ll be visiting this fall is Hope Valley, where American Rivers is leading an effort to restore one of the largest and most iconic meadows in the Sierra. Located just south of South Lake Tahoe along the Upper West Carson River, Hope Valley is an important recreation destination and integral component of one of the Sierra’s major watersheds. Fall is an amazing time in Hope Valley, due to the fall colors of the Aspens that surround the meadow. Most people don’t think of the West as having great fall colors, but Sierra aspens are certainly worth a look, with fall colors ranging from yellow to orange to even deep red.View of Hope Valley through the Fall Aspens | Daniel Nylen
This September, American Rivers’ local partner the Alpine Watershed Group will be hosting the first annual Alpine Aspen Festival to celebrate the fall colors of the aspens. It will be a ‘colorful’ event, including activities like artist workshops, fly fishing classes, trail rides, and live music. The Alpine Watershed Group will also continue its tradition of engaging the community in conservation by including ecology-focused educational hikes and hands-on restoration and monitoring activities. This work builds on the Alpine Watershed Group’s Meadow Stewards Program, where a group of local community members volunteer to conduct hydrologic monitoring for the Hope Valley meadow restoration project.
The Alpine Aspen Festival promises to be a fun, beautiful, and engaging event. It will be held September 25th- 28th. For more information, check out alpineaspenfestival.org.
If you’ve been following our blog for the past couple of months, you have learned that dam removals can take time to complete. It can entail dozens of moving parts (and partners) and several steps to reach the finish line. For several years we have been working to restore the Patapsco River in Maryland. First, we removed the Union Dam in 2010, and then the Simkins Dam in 2011. Next on tap? Bloede Dam, which is downstream of both the former Union and Simkins sites.
Removal of these dams restores more than 65 miles of spawning habitat for shad and river herring, and more than 183 miles for American Eel. We are making progress toward that goal – slowly, but surely.
Currently, we are in the process of working with our contractors and partners to design the removal of the dam, as well as the placement of an overlook at the former dam site and the relocation of a portion of the sewer line that runs through the dam. The location of Bloede Dam within the watershed makes removal trickier than at a site like Simkins. It sits at the tail end of a drop in gradient and around a slight bend in the river, which increases erosive potential at the site. The project becomes even more complicated when that dam is in the middle of a busy state park… and has a sewer line running through it. We have to consider questions such as: How do we move heavy equipment in to remove the dam (and move the sewer line)? How do we minimize impacts to the park visitors while ensuring the efficient completion of the project? And even, where do we place an overlook that is secure, safe, and provides a nice view?Bloede Dam Sewer Abutment
Having to work around the sewer line has presented a whole separate set of challenges. We have had to consider alternatives for placement of the relocated line, what activities and disturbances would be involved with each of those options, and what would be the most cost-effective approach. Significant rock formations and the confined river valley add further constraints.
A project such as this requires a great investment from funders as well as the community. The latest project supporter is the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, who is providing a $2.48M grant to restore aquatic passage, eliminate a safety hazard, and increase resiliency. They join a number of great partners who support the effort to remove this dam.
So, what is the next step in this process? We are currently reviewing the draft design plans and are planning a public open house to present those plans in November. Check back here and on our Facebook page for more information on this open house!
It’s been a big year for bicycling in Washington state and we have some key things to celebrate at our 22nd annual auction and gala on November 8: retaining our status for the 7th year in a row as the most bicycle friendly state in the nation; official designation of US Bicycle Route 10, Washington’s first route in the national bike network; and the release of Cycling Sojourner Washington, the first multi-day bicycle tour guide book for the Evergreen State in over a decade.
Whatever your reason and wherever you ride, you can help support Washington Bikes’ vital work on policy and legislation, creating safe routes to work, school and beyond, promoting bike travel and tourism, and making biking accessible to everyone with a donation to our annual auction.
This year’s theme is Create Adventure–highlighting our bike travel and tourism efforts. Donations that play on this theme–like weekend getaways, biking or outdoor adventures, and unique experiences of all kinds–are needed. Other helpful items include themed gift baskets, handcrafted items, restaurant gift certificates, massage/spa packages, tickets to cultural and sporting events, and more.
Thank you. Your donation helps grow bicycling all across Washington.
And please plan to join us on November 8 at the auction! Come ready to meet friends, have fun, and bid. Visit our Auction Page for more information.
It’s that time of year to nominate your Trail heroes for the American Trails Award! This award has a number of categories where you can nominate your Trail champions – from the Lifetime Service Award to Trails Advocacy to Outstanding Trail Sharing; the American Trail is looking to recognize the tremendous contributions of volunteers, professionals, and other leaders who are working to better both urban and rural trails around the country.
American Trails has extended their deadline for submitting nominations for all of the categories in the 2015 American Trail Awards.
Check out their website and nominate your Trail Hero – I sure will!
Going into the 2015 legislative session — an important budget-writing year that sets the two-year transportation budget — we hope to build on our success in 2013 in getting an all-time record investment of over $40 million in biking/walking projects. We’ll be working for a forward-looking approach to transportation funding that recognizes how people want to move.
As the recent poll on kids and safe biking and walking showed, Washingtonians overwhelmingly want the legislature and their local leaders to invest in safer connections. Add your voice with our petition that asks the legislature for two fundamental things: making safety a top priority and funding complete bike connections.Petition for Better Bicycling
Getting more people on bikes is good for our personal health, local businesses, our towns, our economy, and the air we breathe.
That’s why we call on the governor and the state legislature to make safer bicycling a top priority and to invest in more bike lanes and trails and improved road designs to create a complete network of bicycle connections.Name * First Last * Last Email * Phone Address (Optional) Providing your street address lets us identify your legislative district and send you information about issues and votes in which your state legislators play a key role when they come up. Address Line 2 City * State * AL AK AR AZ CA CO CT DE DC FL GA HI ID IL IN IA KS KY LA ME MH MD MA MI MN MS MO MT NE NV NH NJ NM NY NC ND OH OK OR PA RI SC SD TN TX UT VT VA WA WV WI WY Postal Code *
The post Tell the Washington Legislature: Focus on Safety and Complete Connections appeared first on Washington Bikes.