Trail reroute on Tiger Mountain
November 4, 2022
A small but mighty team of All Stars ventured to Issaquah’s Tiger Mountain in October to participate in another trail work party hosted by Washington Trails Association (WTA). Partnering with WTA has become a favored volunteer opportunity among All Star employees, and the team was thrilled to resume our partnership after a yearlong hiatus since our last work party in the summer of 2021. We were joined by about ten other volunteers. A soggy, fog-covered October day ended up being the perfect climate to spend the day digging out a new trail, protected from most of the rain by the forest canopy.
Tiger Mountain’s close proximity to the greater Seattle area make it one of the most popular and well-trodden trail networks in the state. WTA is currently working on behalf of the Department of Natural Resources to reroute the Middle Tiger Summit Trail. Gina, our Certified Scrum Master, earned her special green hard hat for her fifth work party. This was their first work party for Clark, our accountant, and Kendall, one of our staff writers.
Following the orange flags which marked the direction of the new trail, we first had to get to work digging down to the appropriate soil layer that the footpath should be on. From shovels to saws to grub hoes and more, we had every tool at our disposal to remove the top layers of dirt and cut out stubborn roots in the way.
First we split into teams to parcel out sections of the trail for a few people to work on at a time. One team encountered a roadblock when they unearthed a large, rotted tree directly in the middle of the path. Even some of the more experienced trail workers were stumped on the best strategy for moving the tree. They had to dig around the tree as much as possible before eventually leveraging it up and out of the way with the tools they had.
Even with the tree dug up, moving it was another beast. Rotted trunks and branches can be very heavy because of all the water they hold. With a little creative thinking, Clark and some other trail workers managed to finally get the log out of the way after hours of hard work throughout the day. It made the team appreciate just how much work goes into maintaining our state’s beautiful trails.
By the day’s end, some of the trail was starting to look, well, like a trail! We were able to get portions of the trail down to the light-colored soil that we were aiming for. According to our more experienced leaders, this type of soil compacts better and does not absorb water as easily as the topmost layers we typically find in the forest.
By the late afternoon, it was time for the entire crew to pack up and head home. We convened at the trailhead where we shared warm drinks, snacked and discussed the day’s progress. Our crew leader, Liza, mentioned that it would probably take over 100 separate work parties just on this trail to get it to where they want it to be. The amount of time and manpower it takes to create new trails (and maintain existing ones) is pretty astounding, but it’s valuable work that makes nature accessible to everyone. Without that accessibility, it would be so much more difficult for people to appreciate our forests and fight to protect them.
We hope you get to experience the new trail once it’s complete if you find yourself on Tiger Mountain, and we encourage anyone who has a passion for nature and enjoys working outdoors to give a work party a try—the people that you work with make it fun for everyone!