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Right now the University of Washington (UW) has a unique opportunity to compete for federal funding to significantly improve the 1.7 miles of the Burke-Gilman Trail running through the UW campus.
Right now the UW needs your support.
This portion of the trail is the closest thing that bicyclists get to gridlock: pedestrians crossing the trail at all hours at marked and un-marked locations, damage from tree roots on the trail surface, low-visibility because of dense tree cover, overcrowding of all modes and resulting conflicts.
Once University Link Light Rail and the SR-520 bridge replacement (with a new, dedicated bike/ped path) come online, congestion will get worse. Studies from the UW indicate that by 2030, this section of the Burke-Gilman Trail will see a 92 percent increase in the number of pedestrian trips during peak hours, and a 238 percent increase in the number of bicycle trips.
The University has already started working on a small portion of the trail, and is currently assembling funding to fully rebuild the entire 1.7 miles and with this grant, the project timeline can be compressed, saving money and ensuring that the trail is ready in time for the opening of the University of Washington Sound Transit station.
While the UW has a great start on funding for improving the Burke-Gilman Trail, they’re trying to secure the last-dollar-in by applying for a TIGER grant, a highly competitive federal grant in which only about 4 percent of applicants win. Projects from the Puget Sound region have won in all four rounds of TIGER grants thus far; however, none of these projects were exclusively bike/ped projects.
What’s most exciting? The proposed project will serve as a model for pedestrian and bike trails nationwide, including new standards for mode separation, safety improvements, interchange design and long-term durability. Very few TIGER grants have been solely focused on biking and walking – this sets precedent.
In order for the UW to be competitive against a national pool of road projects, the University needs our help. Please take just a few moments to register your support. Every online endorsement and letter of support counts! The grant application is due on June 3, so getting letters in as soon as possible is critical.
Further information and details on the Burke-Gilman Trail improvements through the UW’s campus can also be found at: http://uw.edu/burke-gilman.
The post Voice your support for a better Burke-Gilman Trail appeared first on Bicycle Alliance of Washington.
After work, I often decompress from events of the day with a bike ride on a waterfront trail or a walk through the old growth forest in Schmitz Park. The trail activity lets me enjoy the outdoors and allows me to arrive home mentally refreshed.
Trails take me to special outdoor places. I have followed trails to the edge of Mount Rainier’s glaciers, skied and snowshoed into quiet canyons in eastern Washington, hiked into the Pasayten Wilderness to straddle the US-Canadian border, and pedaled and pushed my bike to ghost towns, abandoned mines and hot springs in the Cascades.
I have had some memorable and cherished experiences on trails. My sweetie and I shared our first kiss on a trail in Mount Rainier. I have enjoyed sunsets and twilight while biking on the Alki Trail. And I will always remember listening to the roar of the wind in the canyon below me as I camped peacefully on the rim trail of Zion Canyon in Utah.
National Trails Day is a celebration of America’s magnificent and vast trail system. This event occurs annually on the first Saturday in June, which happens to be June 1 this year.
I hope you will join me and thousands of other Americans as we pay tribute to our wonderful trails. Organized hikes, bike rides, work parties and celebrations are planned on trails in Washington and around the nation.
Participating in a work party is a great way to give back to trails. If you like to mountain bike, you can help Evergreen Mountain Bike Alliance build a new trail at Tiger Mountain on National Trails Day. The Klickitat Trail Conservancy will host a work party to pick up trash, install signage, prune and weed along their trail.
Tacoma residents can celebrate National Trails Day by spending some time sprucing up the trails at Point Defiance. Come early with your bike and you can pedal Five Mile Drive car-free in the morning!
Celebrate with a trail ride at one of our state parks! Washington State Parks is offering free access (no Discover Pass needed) to its facilities on National Trails Day. This includes the John Wayne Trail and Columbia Plateau Trail.
You can find a list of registered National Trails Day events here. Check our Resources page for a list of local bike clubs and trail groups. You can contact them to see if they have any trail events planned. Or gather a few of your friends and celebrate your favorite trail with a hike or bike ride.
See you on the trail!
We asked Joan Burton, guidebook author of Best Hikes with Kids: Western Washington and the Cascades!, what she recommends for getting kids out on trail this time of year. She suggested three great spring hikes along rivers featuring lots of family-friendly activities, from wildlife-spotting to stone-skipping.Old Sauk River
Location: North Cascades - Mountain Loop Highway Distance: 6 miles roundtripElevation Gain: 150 ft
A lowland level walk along the Sauk River is easy enough for kids, yet exciting and beautiful for all ages in springtime. The old forest trail winds along the river bank with views of rushing white water just melted from snow banks and quiet backwater ponds.
The new trail has a gravel surface and is wheelchair accessible. It is possible to make any of several loop trips along this popular Wild & Scenic River. Old trees, Salmonberries, Thimbleberries, and ancient cedar stumps shade the trail, recently rebuilt by WTA crews.
Springtime flowers that children will enjoy include trillim, queen’s cup, violets, twinflowers, bleeding heart and ground dogwood. Have your kids watch for pollywogs and tadpoles in the ponds along the Sauk, but hold their hands alongside white water views.
Location: Olympics -- East Distance: 10.6 miles Elevation: Gain: 2300 ft
Another beautiful river walk, this one in the Olympics, is along the mostly level Duckabush River. Children will enjoy finding rusting relics of logging days, throwing stones, dipping feet, and playing by the river’s edge.
At 2 1/2 miles, climb to a ledge called the Little Hump where you may find such spring flowers as fawn lilies, chocolate lilies, Indian paintbrush and more. Some Eastern Olympic plants and animals, such as the Olympic marmot, were isolated by the last glacial age, and are unique and endemic here.
Continue up another mile to Big Hump, where you and the kids can savor views up valley toward the beautiful Eastern Olympics and down valley toward the Cascades.
Location: Chinook Pass - Enumclaw or Hwy 410 area Distance: 14 miles roundtrip Elevation Gain: 1600 ft
Here is a lowland trail through magnificent old growth forest. Walk past melting snow waterfalls along the Greenwater River up to two small woodland lakes, which may still be snow-covered.
Knobby cliffs on either side of the trail are lined with moss, trillims, ferns, and yellow violets. The cliffs are reminders of volcanic activity here millions of years ago.
The first Greenwater Lake has a river running through it, keeping its water fresh and the ducks busy. At 2 miles come to Upper Greenwater Lake, featuring a beaver lodge and possible campsites.
It's only a few days until the long Memorial Day weekend, and you either:
Jump below to choose your own adventure, one that gets your whole family outside for a great start to summer.a) You already have camping or cabin reservations
Good for you for planning ahead. Now, you just need to check the weather, pull together your car camping and hiking essentials and find a few snow-free hikes nearby.
Reservations aren't your style, or maybe this weekend just snuck up on you. No worries. You've still got options, but you've got to be a little flexible.
Who needs to camp this early in the season? You'd rather take the three-day weekend to take a rambling picnic close to home or seek out the far-away hikes on your list with enough time to catch a movie and weed the garden.
Fishing groups acted Monday to strengthen regulation in California of two widely used pesticides known to harm salmon. More than one million pounds of the two pesticides are used annually to kill insects on a variety of crops in California and much of it washes off fields or drifts from the air into salmon-bearing streams.
by Tami Asars
Bird: Watch for red-breasted sapsuckers at the top of conifers
Captain Obvious had some fun naming this bird. Not surprisingly, this colorful bird with a breast of brilliant red feathers is known for sucking sap from the wells it drills in living trees.
In spring, the females lay 4 to 7 snow-white eggs that eventually produce naked and helpless little chicks. Both parents play a role in feeding and protecting the young and in 26 to 28 days, the fledglings are ready to leave the nest.
Interestingly, hummingbirds have developed a symbiotic relationship with sapsuckers and rely on their holes for feeding sources.
This spring, when you hear a pecking sound high in the conifers, look closely. Often you’ll see a hummingbird hovering nearby, waiting for its turn at the feeding tree.
Beast: Keep your ears perked for the warning call of the pika “Eeeeepp!” This is the warning call of a small mammal called a pika, and is commonly heard near talus slopes. This rock-dwelling rodent, closely related to the hare, is 6 to 8 inches long with a round body and little ears. Pikas are active day and night, and do not hibernate.
In summer, pikas work on building a “haystack,” a pile of grasses, heather and wildflowers on which they feed through the cold winter months. Drying their haystack is key to keeping it preserved, so if you look closely, you may see a pile drying in the sun.
If wet weather comes along, they move it to a drier location.When they aren’t working on gathering food, they are often guarding their tunnels, keeping a close eye out for predators.
Bloom: Bitterroot add a touch of color to hikes amongst Washington’s sagebrush The fragile, colorful and unexpected blooms of the bitterroot plant shout “spring is here” from hilltops in arid desert climates.
The root, bitter unless cooked (hence the name), was usually eaten with berries or meats for meals by Native Americans who depended on this plant for an extremely nutritious food source. It was claimed to sustain an active person for a whole day. Medicinal uses included infusions of the root to help relieve heart pain, to counteract the effect of poison ivy rash and even as a treatment for cold sores.
Today, the plants are used for landscaping in rock gardens or seen growing wild in Washington’s dry scabland and sagebrush areas.
This article originally appeared in the May+Jun 2013 issue of Washington Trails magazine. Join WTA to get your one-year subscription.
"Washington Trails Association has a huge impact on health and happiness in our state -- one hike at a time." -- Cristie A., Everett
Thanks, Cristie. And thanks to each and every hiker -- 446 in all -- who joined her in making a gift to trails during The Seattle Foundation's GiveBIG event on May 15. Your amazing outpouring of support truly will help stretch our impact this year.Your gifts will help clear, repair or build 35+ trails in the next 30 days
More about that in a moment. But first we can't help celebrating the fact that WTA ranked #7 by number of donations out of 1,300 participating nonprofits. You gave an astounding $55,805 to trails -- putting WTA at #27 by amount received.
The 24-hour online event raised a staggering $11.1 million to help make our region a better place to live, work and play. An additional $1 million matching pool will "stretch" these dollars even further and we're eagerly awaiting word from The Seattle Foundation about how much your gifts will be matched by GiveBIG sponsors.
Your GiveBIG contributions will help WTA go where we're needed most, right now.
In the next 30 days, WTA will be working to clear, repair or build more than 35 different trails across the state -- places like Lake Serene near Stevens Pass, Marmot Pass in the Olympics, and the Wonderland Trail at Rainier. Your generosity has increased our ability to say "yes" when a land manager asks for our help to repair winter storm damage.Your generosity keeps WTA a strong voice for hikers
You'll keep us advocating for State Parks during the special legislative session in Olympia, advocating for King County trail funding, working to keep access to trailheads open. And, as always, your gifts will keep the great ideas for hiking coming your way on our website.More thanks to GiveBIG sponsors
Memorial Day is always a scramble for day hikers, backpackers, and car campers. The criteria of a crowd-free location, trails without snow and decent road conditions easily stymies even the most experienced hikers. Below are a few tips for staying safe and ideas of where to hike, backpack and camp.Weather and spring safety tips Check the weather
Wildflowers still adorn the southern slopes of the Columbia River Gorge on the Washington side, making for spectacular day hiking:
If hearing the crash of ocean waves is more your style, head to the rugged Washington Coast.
Savvy Memorial Day hikers seek the sunnier southern and eastern slopes of the Central Cascades. The wildflowers are really showing their stuff here. As long as you stay below the snowline, there are lovely day hikes and overnights to be found:
Wildflowers are still going strong in the desert steppe country.
Camping can be tricky this time of year, though most campgrounds are opening in advance of the Memorial Day weekend. You can still try to reserve a spot, but if you go into the weekend without a reservation, then a first-come, first-served campground and dispersed camping areas are for you.
Here are some tips for finding a great spot: