On September 25, the Mountains to Sound Greenway Trust joined with others all across the country to celebrate National Public Lands Day 2021 and engage in a stewardship event.
NPLD brings together hundreds of thousands of individual and organizational volunteers nationwide to help restore and celebrate the country’s public lands. These are the places people use for outdoor recreation, education, and simply enjoying nature. The lands encompass national parks, monuments, wildlife refuges, forests, grasslands, marine sanctuaries, lakes, and reservoirs, as well as state, county, and city parks that are managed by public agencies but belong to and are enjoyed by all of us.
Founded by NEEF (the National Environmental Education Foundation) in 1994, NPLD is held annually on the fourth Saturday in September.
A Welcomed Return to In-Person Stewardship
Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, we gathered with partners and more than 100 volunteers in person to complete a variety of projects on our public lands in the Middle Fork Snoqualmie River Valley. Last year, we adapted the event to focus on trash cleanup on an individualized level in order to keep everyone safe and healthy. While the campaign was a success with more than 250 participants and thousands of pieces of trash collected, there’s nothing quite like gathering together and tackling a project on the ground.
We were thrilled to be able to return to a small in-person event this year with 21 dedicated volunteers who spent their Saturday with us for the benefit of our beloved public lands. The group was comprised of some first-time volunteers, as well as returning groups who have been eagerly awaiting the opportunity to come out to a Greenway Trust event again.
Kicking off Work at the Snoqualmie Lake Trailhead
Despite the smaller group this year, our volunteers accomplished a lot! We were stationed at the Snoqualmie Lake trailhead, which is roughly 12 miles up the Middle Fork Road, and about ½ mile past the Garfield Ledges trailhead. The work kicked off a trailhead expansion project that will continue this fall, including adding additional parking, new surfacing, and the addition of a new bathroom facility.
The Snoqualmie Lake trail is very popular with both day hikers and backpackers heading into the Alpine Lakes Wilderness, as well as casual sightseers and campers along the Taylor River.
Volunteers helped with the following tasks:
• Salvaging native plants
• Clearing vegetation for expanded parking, as well as a new vault toilet, kiosk, and picnic areas
• Spreading gravel in the new picnic area
This collaborative partnership with the Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest, Snoqualmie Ranger District is funded by a Nonhighway and Off-road Vehicle Activities program via the Washington State Recreation and Conservation Office and supported by the Greenway Trust’s Middle Fork Campaign.
Other Happenings in the Middle Fork Valley
It was a busy day in the Middle Fork Valley, with some other exciting things happening in addition to the above-mentioned work. A team from Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest was out to install a new trailhead signboard at the Snoqualmie Lake trailhead, and we did our first pilot run of the Trailhead Ambassador Program! The ambassadors were stationed at the nearby Garfield Ledges trailhead and spoke with more than 30 people about recreating responsibly and respecting public lands. We hope to run another pilot day of this program in 2021, and fully launch in 2022. Stay tuned!