Enthusiasts mark National Trails Day

— Local trail enthusiasts will celebrate National Trails Day on Saturday with hikes and a work party.

The Mountaineers of Seattle and the Methow Valley Sports Trails Association will host a day-long event at Sun Mountain Lodge including five full- and half-day hikes, horseback and horse-drawn wagon rides, photography hikes and a “Cowboy Dinner.”

The day will kick off with a reception at 7:30 a.m. at the lodge, 604 Patterson Lake Road.

RSVPs are required for the barbecue dinner, which begins at 5:30 p.m., and a fee will be charged.

The wagon rides will be given at dinner, which is served until 8 p.m.

A presentation by Don Portman, “Day Hikes in the North Cascades,” will be at 8 p.m.

Registration is a must to go on the hikes, and capacity is limited to 12 per outing. Anyone who is not a member of the Mountaineers can fill out a guest form online.

National Trails Day ... aims to highlight the important work thousands of volunteers do each year to take care of America’s trails.

— American Hiking Society

In Oroville, a work party will be at the Whistler Canyon Trailhead of the Pacific Northwest National Scenic Trail, about 3 miles south of town off state Highway 97.

The work party will extend past National Trails Day into Sunday and Monday, according to Dave Sunde, the trail boss and the local chapter’s representative in the Backcountry Horsemen of Washington.

Starting at 9 a.m. Saturday, volunteers will help the Okanogan Valley chapter set posts to build a rail fence and install water bars and a hiker/rider gate.

The work areas are all within walking distance, Sunde said, though horses will be provided to carry equipment and people are welcome to bring their own horses.

“If people are like me and would rather have their horse walk up the hill than they, far be it from me to change that,” he said.

The Whistler Canyon Trailhead is fairly new, having been completed last fall. Sunde said it hasn’t seen much use yet.

When it comes to observing National Trails Day, “We’ve been doing it for years,” he said. “We built a trailhead up at Fourth of July Pass, we’ve cleared trails around Bonaparte (Lake). We work clearing trail all summer long, but we kind of publicize it on National Trails Day. Our chapter had several thousand volunteer hours last year alone.”

The Okanogan Valley chapter has more than 50 members. Sunde said he hopes to see at least 15 people at this weekend’s work parties.

No RSVP is required, though Sunde said he’d like to have a rough estimate of how many are coming so he can more evenly schedule people to work on different projects.

There are 200,000 miles of trails nationwide, according to the American Hiking Society.

“Trails give us a means to support good physical and mental health; they provide us with a chance to breathe fresh air, get our hearts pumping, and escape from our stresses,” the society’s website reads. “National Trails Day also aims to highlight the important work thousands of volunteers do each year to take care of America’s trails.”


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