Written by Nancy Stone, Education & Sustainability Director ([email protected])
NWTA’s first Trail School for Trail Sisters took place this Saturday at Klootchy Creek. Not only were we greeted with the bright, sunny faces of 10 Trail Sisters but the actual sun itself. A rare January treat, indeed!
In a sport where women/trans/femme find themselves as a minority on the trail, we observe that the same story transfers into the realm of trail work. In an effort to flip that script, the Trail Sustainability Institute hosted a specific Trail School to invite women/trans/femme to learn in a comfortable, encouraging environment where they could build confidence in the foundational skills of trail maintenance.
Diving deeper into safety, tool identification/uses and trail anatomy, the Trail Sisters learned the “why” of trail maintenance. Why do we encourage hard hats or helmets? What the heck is this tool and what am I supposed to do with it? When we build a bench, are we building something to sit on or something to ride on? Trail School unveils the questions that most people who are new to trail maintenance ask themselves, and are sometimes uneasy about asking others for the answer. This is the place where questions are answered and even more so, encouraged.
This Trail School was made possible by two fantastic guest instructors. Nell Stamper, NWTA’s liaison from the North Coast Trail Alliance. Nell is very involved with the success and forward momentum of the Klootchy Creek Trails. It was Nell’s grand idea to have this event be specifically for our Trail Sisters and she couldn’t have been more spot on with her foresight.
We were also very fortunate to have the incredible Beth Dayton of Salem Area Trail Alliance come out to the coast from Salem to lend her leadership and expansive knowledge of all things related to trails. As Beth pointed out, “it’s important that we cross-pollinate between organizations so we can all learn from each other.” We couldn’t agree more, Beth!
A big thanks to all of the Trail Sisters who showed up in a big way on Saturday. Showing up may be the hardest part, and in doing so, we make it easier for others to do the same. We are grateful for you.