A Wilderness Trail Day

Mike and Amanda, the Access Fund's Conservation Team, report on the trail work we partnered on in the Darrington area. Our group of volunteers got lots of work done while the Access Fund was out!
Katherine Hollis Katherine Hollis
October 06, 2014

Reposted with permission from Mike & Amanda - the Access Fund Conservation Team

The Pacific Northwest is an adventurous climber’s dream. Long hikes into remote peaks and crags challenge climbers’ fitness and resolve, while towering granite peaks and spires inspire one to explore. So we were pretty psyched when we learned that we’d be heading to Darrington, Washington to work at a crag known as 3 O’clock Rock in the Boulder River Wilderness.

 

Long before we arrived in town, local volunteers had reached out to Access Fund to identify the issues that we could help address. These partners—including Washington Climbers Coalition, The Mountaineers, and the Darrington Ranger District—worked hard on the ground for months before we showed up to lay the groundwork for a successful Adopt a Crag project.After arriving in town, it became clear that much of the trail work the team had planned was for sections of trail that lay inside a federally designated Wilderness area, which added an additional layer of planning to abide by Wilderness standards.


Federally protected Wilderness areas have strict regulations to maintain their wild nature. Mechanized equipment is prohibited, and any trail work must be done with an eye to retaining the trails primitive character. That meant we were going to have to remove a large 3-foot diameter log (which had been blocking the trail for a few years) by hand with a crosscut saw. Most of our trail work is done using simple hand tools anyway, so the Wilderness designation didn’t have a huge impact on our work process.

The introduction of a crosscut saw to the mix did turn into a novel and fun experience for volunteers.


In the end, the project was a great success. With the help of 15 volunteers, we constructed a set of stone stairs, shored up a handful of drainage structures, cleared overgrowth from a half mile of trail, and removed the aforementioned tree.


We are grateful for the opportunity to work in and help maintain such an amazing Wilderness climbing area, and are thankful for Washington Climbers Coalition, The Mountaineers, and the Darrington Ranger District for making this such a successful project.

~ Amanda & Matt, Access Fund Conservation Team