News from our member organizations

Middle Fork Snoqualmie Road Closed at Valley Camp

News from Washington Trails Association - Wed, 01/07/2015 - 3:45pm

Stormy weather last week brought flooding to various parts of the state, including along the Middle Fork Snoqualmie Road. After last week's deluge, hikers looking for a retreat to the mountains outside of North Bend will have to wait, or commit to a road walk in order to access trails such as the Pratt Connector or Mailbox Peak.

Road closed to vehicles

According to Mike Niemi, Project Engineer for the Middle Fork Paving Project, heavy rains caused flooding which damaged a section of the Middle Fork Snoqualmie River Road. The road has been closed to vehicle traffic at Valley Camp. Repairs are estimated to take between two and three weeks.

Try these further afield trails, too:

Olympics Columbia Gorge Northwest Washington Central Washington Eastern Washington

Those wishing to travel beyond Valley Camp may do so on foot or by bicycle. If you're planning on hiking along the Middle Fork, please don't block the closure with parked cars.

Alternate routes

We know Mailbox Peak is a lot of hikers' go-to training trail. To avoid crowding at the Middle Fork closure, consider using this opportunity to explore other great conditioning hikes in the area:

Don't forget your winter snow smarts when you head out! Snow can change a trail you may be familiar with in the summer, and Mount Washington has particular avalanche danger.

Getaway to Lake Stevens and Beyond, Day Three: Arlington via Snohomish Centennial Trail

Snohomish County Bikes: an ongoing series highlighting great Snohomish County bike rides. Share your own great ride with us! […]

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Making a Killing: California Ivory Sales Largely Illegal, Contributing to Recent Rise in African Elephant Poaching

News from NRDC - Tue, 01/06/2015 - 10:00pm
SAN FRANCISCO (January 7, 2015) – Every 15 minutes, an African elephant is killed for its tusks. And some of that ivory ends up right here on store shelves in California.   According to a report commissioned by the Natural Resources Defense Council, Elephant Ivory Trafficking in California, USA, up to 90 percent of the ivory for sale in Los Angeles and approximately 80 percent in San Francisco is likely illegal under California law, meaning that much of the ivory being sold in the Golden State comes from recently killed elephants and is directly tied to their massacre on the other side of the globe. Report author and ivory expert Daniel Stiles also found that the proportion of likely illegal ivory in California has roughly doubled – from approximately 25 percent in 2006 to about 50 percent in 2014 – since his last survey just eight years ago.

EPA Staying on Course to Complete Climate Pollution Standards

News from NRDC - Tue, 01/06/2015 - 10:00pm
WASHINGTON (January 7, 2015) – The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency today demonstrated it remains on course to finalize standards limiting dangerous carbon pollution from both existing and future power plants, and to craft a federal plan to ensure implementation of the centerpiece of the president’s climate action plan.

EPA Responds to Call for Chlorpyrifos Ban with New Risk Calculations and Continued Use

News from Beyond Pesticides - Tue, 01/06/2015 - 8:01pm
(Beyond Pesticides, January 7, 2015) On Monday, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released a revised human health assessment for the insecticide, chlorpyrifos, which finds risks to workers who mix, load and apply chlorpyrifos, and that the chemical has the potential to pose risks to drinking water in small watersheds. The assessment also notes that […]

Huffington Post blog: 6 reasons 2014 was a good year for climate action

News from NW Energy Coalition - Tue, 01/06/2015 - 8:53am
There are many reasons to be joyous about clean energy advancements in 2014. The cost of solar and wind energy continues to fall, utilities are investing in energy storage and electric vehicle charging, Chinese coal demand is falling, sustainable investing is on the rise, and businesses are more vocal than ever on the need for climate action.

Getaway to Lake Stevens and Beyond, Day Two: Marysville

Snohomish County Bikes: an ongoing series highlighting great Snohomish County bike rides. Share your own […]

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Putting the National Interest First

News from NRDC - Mon, 01/05/2015 - 10:00pm
WASHINGTON (January 6, 2015) - The White House today announced that President Obama would veto legislation designed to force approval of the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline before he can make a judgment as to whether it’s in the national interest.

Fish and Wildlife Service to Consider Federal Protection for Monarch Butterfly

News from Beyond Pesticides - Mon, 01/05/2015 - 9:16pm
(Beyond Pesticides, January 6, 2015) At the close of 2014, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) announced plans to conduct a year-long status review of the monarch butterfly to determine whether the species is eligible for protection under the Endangered Species Act (ESA). FWS is taking this action as result of an August 2014 […]

Bed, Breakfast & Biking: Getaway to Lake Stevens and More, Day One

Snohomish County Bikes: an ongoing series highlighting great Snohomish County bike rides. Share your own great […]

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4 Trends That Give Me Hope for Our Planet in 2015

News from Conservation International - Mon, 01/05/2015 - 7:00am
The impacts of these individual achievements have been enormous. Still more important are the trends they represent.

NRDC to EPA: Protect our Children! NRDC Sues Agency to Ban Toxic Flea Collars and Pet Products

News from NRDC - Sun, 01/04/2015 - 10:00pm
WASHINGTON (January 5, 2015) – Today, NRDC filed a lawsuit in federal court against the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) challenging the agency’s decision to allow the continued use of a highly toxic pesticide called tetrachlovinphos (TCVP) in flea control products used on pets. Due to concerns that pesticides like TCVP can harm children’s brains and nervous systems, the agency has already restricted household use of TCVP’s chemical cousins in the class of pesticides called organophosphates. But EPA continues to allow neurotoxic TCVP to be used in flea collars for dogs and cats, which puts kids at risk. NRDC’s lawsuit follows EPA’s recent denial of NRDC’s 2009 petition seeking to cancel all pet uses of TCVP because of the health risks to children.

Hawai’i Council to Appeal Court Ruling that Strikes Down GE Restrictions

News from Beyond Pesticides - Sun, 01/04/2015 - 8:01pm
(Beyond Pesticides, January 5, 2015) Hawai’i County plans to appeal a federal judge’s ruling invalidating a 2013 county law restricting genetically engineered (GE) crops on the island. The County Council voted 5-4 in December to appeal the ruling after the judge ruled last November that Hawai’i County cannot enforce a law restricting genetically engineered crops […]

New Process to Register for Youth Vacations

News from Washington Trails Association - Fri, 01/02/2015 - 3:05pm

Youth Volunteer Vacations are service trips for high school students 14 to 18 years old. On a Youth Vacation, participants work together in a group of about 10 with two crew leaders to fix damaged, neglected or over-used trails all over Washington. Youth Volunteers learn hiking and camping skills, gain experience with a variety of tools and accomplish amazing work in just a week.

Youth volunteers and crew leaders pose in Mt. Rainier National Park.

Volunteers with a bit more experience are invited to participate in backcountry trips where they backpack into a base camp and live in the wilderness for a week (or two!) while completing trail projects.

Many of our youth volunteers return again and again throughout high school to visit new areas, keep gaining new skills and earn 40 service hours for each trip. We hope you'll be joining us on trail for the first, second, third or fourth time.

The process to register for a Youth Vacation has changed for the 2015 season. Make sure you read the following information to learn how to apply for the trips you want.

Changing to a less stressful, more inclusive application-based system

Starting in the 2015 season, the Youth Vacation registration process is changing to an application-based system. Each volunteer must complete a 2015 application indicating which trip(s) they would like to join before they will be placed on a youth vacation.

The new system is not intended to make registration competitive, but rather to make signing up for a WTA Youth Vacation less stressful and more inclusive than the previous system. Instructions on how to apply and become registered for a 2015 Youth Vacation are below. Please visit our commonly asked questions to learn more.

How to register and apply for a 2015 Youth Volunteer Vacation

Starting January 30, the schedule for the 2015 Youth Volunteer Vacations will be available at

Interested youth volunteers have until February 17 to submit their 2015 Youth Volunteer Vacation Application, teacher recommendation form (for new volunteers only) and scholarship application (if applicable) to be given priority placement on trips. Both electronic and paper applications will be accepted. Electronic applications will not be available until January 30 when trip dates and locations are revealed. Access paper applications and forms using the links below.

All applications that are submitted electronically before midnight on February 17, or are postmarked on or before February 17, will be notified shortly after submitting their application materials that they have been received and are under review. Priority placement applicants will be notified of which trip(s) they are on by email on or before March 6.

Applications that are received after February 17 will be reviewed on a rolling basis.

What does this mean?

Youth volunteers showing off the huckleberries they picked on a backcountry trip to Colchuck Lake. Photo by Meg Mackenzie.

What this means is that Youth Vacations will not be first come, first serve as in previous years. We will take into account each applicant's preference when placing volunteers onto trips, but we will also be working to have volunteers from a variety of locations and high schools. Additionally, we will make placements to provide girls and boys equal opportunity to participate.

Because of this, it is ideal if each applicant gives us as many trip choices as possible to be placed on. Additionally, get your application in as soon as possible; priority will be given to applications submitted by February 17. We will do our best to give everyone their top choice(s).

We feel confident that these changes to our youth vacation registration system will help to ensure better group dynamics on all of our summer trips and will make registration easier, less stressful, and more inclusive to more youth volunteers and their families.

If you have questions or concerns, please visit our page of frequently asked questions or call the WTA Office at 206-625-1367 or email

Best Outdoor Apps for 2015

News from Washington Trails Association - Fri, 01/02/2015 - 2:40pm

Looking to refresh your outdoor apps in the new year? Don't miss our list of Best Outdoor Apps for 2015. Some will help you identify wildflowers and birds; others will help you navigate your favorite trail. And a few just might save your life.

A few of the reviewed Best Outdoor Apps for 2015.


First Aid


Red Cross First Aid, freeBest for: iPhone, AndroidAccess basic first aid for common emergencies, as well as instructional videos, interactive quizzes and step-by-step advice. Once downloaded, can be used without cell service.


Exploring the Outdoors


SkyView, freeBest for: iPhone, iPadPoint your smartphone at the sky to identify stars, constellations and satellites. Once downloaded, can be used without cell service. Have an Android? Try Sky Map (free).


Audubon Birds Pro, $3.99-$4.99Best for: iPhone, iPad, AndroidSee high quality pictures, read in-depth descriptions, listen to calls and log sightings for more than 820 unique species of birds. Bonus points: this app is as thorough as a traditional field guide.


WA Wildflowers, $7.99Best for: iPhone, Android, Kindle FireBrowse plants or search by characteristics for more than 870 common shrubs, wildflowers and vines found in Washington. Once downloaded, can be used without cell service. Bonus points: this app is as thorough as a traditional field guide.


WA Birding Trail, freeBest for: iPhoneAccess seven driving loops and 375 birding hotspots selected by local experts. Shake the phone for a random recommendation on where to go. Bonus points: this app can read your GPS location and suggest birding hotspots near you.


WTA Trailblazer, freeBest for: iPhone, Android, WindowsExplore thousands of Washington’s trails and the latest Trip Reports without being tethered to your computer. Bonus points: this app can read your GPS location and suggest trails near you.


PeakFinder Earth, $1.03Best for: AndroidPoint your smartphone at a mountain landscape and instantly find out the names of the peaks you're looking at. Once downloaded, can be used without cell service. Have an iPhone? Try Peaks ($2.99).

SAS Survival Guide, $5.99Best for: iPhone, Android, WindowsLearn survival skills through the full text of the bestselling book, instructional videos and interactive quizzes. Bonus points: this app offers extensive photo galleries of animal tracks, medicinal and poisonous plants and more.




MotionX GPS, $0.99Best for: iPhone, iPadDownload custom road and topo maps before your next hike—then see your progress on the map and track elapsed time, distance, average speed and more while you adventure. Once downloaded (including maps), can be used without cell service.Have an Android? Try BackCountry Navigator TOPO GPS ($11.99).


Want even more? Check these out:


Halfmile’s PCTSuper accurate mileage counter and GPS-positioner for PCT hikersiPhone, Android

Pocket Ranger WA State ParksGuide to state parks in WAiPhone, Android

Chimani National ParksMaps and info guide for national parksiPhone, Android

Geocaching.comSearchable database of geocachesiPhone, Android

Global Summit Log from PeakHunter.comWith the help of GPS, claim your peaks and keep track of your ascents.iPhone, Android

YonderFoursquare/Pinterest crossover for hikersiPhone, Android

MapMyHike GPS HikingMaps and logs your hiking routeiPhone and Android

Trip JournalCapture photos and notes tied to waypointsiPhone and Android

AccuWeatherMinute-by-minute forecast for your exact GPS locationiPhone and Android

Camp FinderFind over 17,000 campgrounds and RV parks all across the nationiPhone and Android

Army Survival GuideComplete reference on basic survival, evasion, first aid and recovery informationiPhone and Android


This story originally appeared in the Jan+Feb 2015 issue of Washington Trails magazine. Join WTA to get your one-year subscription.

Four Trails that Need Your Help in January

News from Washington Trails Association - Thu, 01/01/2015 - 8:51am

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.

No experience is needed to join a work party, and anyone is welcome. We'll teach you what you need to know and find the right job for you. For more information on what to expect when you join us on trail, check out our FAQ page.

Southwest Washington - Battle Ground State Park

January 8

Kick off the New Year right with a work party at Battle Ground Lake State Park. WTA volunteers have done a tremendous amount of work to fix up the Lower Lake trail, but there's still more to do. We'll be re-establishing the tread, brushing and hardening sections with rock. In addition, we'll re-align the trail slightly farther from the lake to get it away from the mud.

>> Sign up now for the work party at Battle Ground Lake State Park.

Puget Sound - Elk Ridge

January 13-17, 20-24

With your help, Taylor Mountain will have an extensive system of trails; good for exploring even more of the Issaquah Alps. Photo by hikingwithmybrother.

Join WTA as we help King County develop a comprehensive trail system on an old logging show on Taylor Mountain. The main project is a relocation of the Elk Ridge trail near a stream ford. We'll be working on some large turnpikes at the new stream crossing and a retaining wall along a steep hillside that will keep the trail from slumping into the water.

This will be a great way to learn about creating long-lasting, sturdy trail, and with ten days scheduled for January, there are plenty of opportunities to join us during the month.

>> Sign up now for a work party at Elk Ridge on Taylor Mountain in January.

Olympic Peninsula - South Fork Skokomish

January 11, 31

The forest canopy demands your gaze along the South Fork Skokomish River, which is great on a sunny day and a bit wet on a rainy day. Photo by Halfcenturyhiker.

The Skokomish River has a bad habit of changing course, taking sections of trail with it. WTA is working here doing logout, brushing, retread and a short reroute around a couple of problem areas.

This is a very old trail that may have been an Native American route through the Olympic Mountains, meandering through both ancient forest and areas that have seen logging, and parallelling the South Fork of the Skokomish River. Hikers wander for miles, stopping by historic points of interest, including the old LeBar Claim, and Roosevelt Elk can be observed throughout the river basin.

>> Sign up now for a work party on the South Fork Skokomish River in January.

Olympic Peninsula - Mount Walker

January 25

A bench makes a nice resting stop atop Mt. Walker. Photo by skimpyphud.

Though it's only 2 miles long, the steep trail to the summit of Mount Walker leads to excellent vistas of the Olympics, including Mounts Jupiter and Constance, Buckhorn Mountain and across the sound, Baker and Rainier.

Popular for it's year-round hikability as well as the views, the trail requires constant maintenance to keep it in tip-top shape. We'll improve tread, brush, and log out. Come beat the winter doldrums with some exhilarating trail work in the brisk January air, and learn a thing or two about trail maintenance while you're at it.

>> Sign up now for the Mount Walker work party on January 25.

#BikeIt: What’s On Your List?

You know what a bucket list is — the things you want to do before […]

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