NWTA launches Trail Sustainability Institute at SHIFT

Post written by Education Director Nancy Stone (nancys@nw-trail.org)

This year at SHIFT, Northwest Trail Alliance launched its brand-new trail stewardship education program, Trail Sustainability Institute (TSI). The institute focuses on education around building and maintaining our trails using sustainable methods that respect the environment while providing access to outdoor recreation.

10 participants, accompanied by 3 instructors, immediately got to work addressing drainage issues. Attention was brought to locating water sources that were causing the water to travel down the trail and mitigating those areas by creating drains to disperse the water naturally into the forest.

Instructor Andy Jansky of Flowing Solutions, encouraged participants to take a close look at the forest as well as the topography of the land to get a better idea of how the trail can co-exist sustain-ably with the environment it is in. Bringing special awareness to how thoughtful and proper trail planning can prevent erosion into neighboring tributaries, protecting salmon and their spawning grounds as well as the overall health of the waterway.

The group had conversations around the different user groups that utilize these trails and the various kinds of impacts each type of user creates as they pass through. Learning that these impacts can be decreased with thoughtful corridor trimming, proper bench-work and overall good stewardship leads to happy recreationalists and a healthy forest.

Interested in participating in the Trail Sustainability Institute? Classes will be forming this fall at a trail near you. Check NWTA’s events page & follow on our Facebook & Instagram pages for your next opportunity to join.