2024 Trail School at Klootchy Creek Recap

Written by Nancy Stone, NWTA Vice President, Education & Sustainability Director

The Trail Sustainability Institute (TSI), NWTA’s educational program ventured to the coast and held Trail School: Fundamentals at the Klootchy Creek trail system on February 17, 2024. These trail schools equip participants with the fundamental skills needed to understand and implement sustainable maintenance practices on the trail. 

Volunteers learn about the tools used for trail work, their names and all of the ways that they can be used on the trail. Understanding that working in the forest with these heavy, sharp tools has an inherent risk, Trail School Instructors review safety practices that greatly minimize those risks. 

The team then hiked down to the Upper Chris Cross trail where the Instructors reviewed Trail Anatomy, breaking down all of the parts of the trail and the vocabulary used for each aspect.  For instance, what the heck is a “bench” and a backslope and what do they have to do with one another?!?

Once we had all of that knowledge in our back pockets, we put all of the information to use by clearing the corridor, addressing drainage and focusing on improving tread. We had a great opportunity to brainstorm how to address a somewhat complicated drainage problem that was taking place in a section of a forest that was fairly young in its seral stage, therefore rather exposed to the 100 INCHES of rain that these trails see each year. We tackled the biggest issues that would improve drainage and then agreed to wait until the end of the rainy season to address the rest. This was a great example of understanding how to consider the seasons and weather patterns to achieve the best sustainable results possible. 

A big thank you to the volunteers who showed up for some hands-on learning on a cold and wet day and yet kept their spirits high and then stuck around for drinks, snacks and conversation. 

Catch us at our next TSI event at Sandy Ridge, Trail School: Reinforcing Berms on March 16th where we will be learning advanced skills on how to reinforce berms on highly used trails.