Olympia Branch Conservation & Stewardship Committee Recognized with Forest Service Volunteer Award

Congratulations to the Olympia Branch for receiving a volunteer service award nomination from the Forest Service’s PNW region for their Conservation & Stewardship Committee’s outreach work on the Olympic National Forest’s Sustainable Trails Survey.
The Mountaineers The Mountaineers
June 07, 2023
Olympia Branch Conservation & Stewardship Committee Recognized with Forest Service Volunteer Award
Olympia Branch Trail User Survey Volunteer Receiving a Forest Service Volunteer Service Award. Photo courtesy of Ginger Sarver.

The Olympic National Forest draws Mountaineers from all over the region year-round to hike, camp, and experience the natural beauty of the Olympic Peninsula. To harness our member’s passion for giving back to the natural world, our Olympia Branch has built a strong partnership with staff at the Forest Service. This partnership has led to many opportunities for members to give back through volunteer trail maintenance and outreach in the Olympic National Forest.

In the face of funding challenges, worsening climate change impacts, and booming recreational use, federal land managers launched a process to develop a Sustainable Recreation Strategy in 2021. This strategy will inform an Olympic Peninsula-wide approach to long-term outdoor recreation planning for the next ten years.


Olympia Branch Conservation & Stewardship Committee trail User Survey Outreach in Olympic national Forest. Photo by Kathy Fox.

Partnering for Sustainable Trails

With trails in the Olympic National Forest under increasing pressure, The Mountaineers, Washington Trails Association, and other non-profit partners co-sponsored a trail user feedback survey to collect information about current recreation use throughout the forest.

Last summer, Olympia Conservation & Stewardship Committee Co-chair Kathy Fox led a Mountaineers trailhead outreach effort that included about 11 members from the Olympia Branch to engage with recreationists and promote the survey. Throughout the summer and early fall, volunteers greeted users at Olympic National Forest trailheads -including 
at Lower Big Quilcene, Big Creek, Mount Rose, and Lena Lake - to collect information about recent trail use, a user’s primary recreational activities, how frequently they visited the peninsula for recreation in the last year, and any concerns about impacts on trail resources.

Olympia Branch members contributed more than 200 hundred hours assisting in planning, executing, documenting, and sharing information relating to Sustainable Trails. The Olympic National Forest greatly appreciated The Mountaineers efforts to help create more environmentally, ecologically, and economically sustainable trails. All of this hard work didn’t go unnoticed.

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Forest Service Recognition

As a result of the Conservation & Stewardship Committee’s commitment to promoting the survey, The Mountaineers was nominated and selected to receive a coveted recognition of Citizenship Stewardship and Partnership as a Group in the U.S. Forest Service Region 6, a region that covers 17 National Forests, a National Scenic Area, a National Grassland, and two National Volcanic Monuments throughout Oregon and Washington. With so many groups working to steward and conserve the Northwest's national forest land, receiving this type of recognition is truly a big deal.

Conservation & Stewardship Committee Co-chair Kathy Fox was humbled by the experiences and encounters that she and others enjoyed while participating in this project. Thank you to all the Mountaineers that volunteered or took the Sustainable Trails Survey. The success of this effort is a great example of what happens when Mountaineers come together to adventure with purpose and leverage their love of Washington’s public lands to strive for a more sustainable future for outdoor recreation.

If you haven’t already, join the Olympia Branch in taking the Stewardship Challenge this year by participating in at least one full day of stewardship through The Mountaineers or an outside organization.

Find Stewardship Opportunities