Looking for a unique, outdoorsy family vacation that allows you to explore and contribute to the stewardship of the Northwest's natural beauty? A volunteer vacation with the Washington Trails Association (WTA) might be just the ticket.
Registration opens today at 10 a.m. for these week-long trips; WTA offers some 28 different options throughout the year in many remote and beautiful areas, from Mt. Adams to the Methow Valley to the Holden Village area of Lake Chelan. Here's WTA's brief description:
On a Volunteer Vacation, WTA provides you with a week of fine cooking, fun folks and a meaningful project - led by one of our skilled crew leaders. You'll get do some important trail work during the day - from repairing tread and improving drainage to building turnpike, puncheon and bridges, or even logging-out fallen trees with a crosscut saw. In camp, you will share chores with fellow volunteers, like cooking, washing dishes and pumping water. But even after all of that there will be plenty of time left over to sleep, eat and relax – and to enjoy your surroundings.
Kids can go, says WTA's Alyssa Kreider, as long they are with a parent. She adds "it is most suitable for youth over the age of 12, depending on the amount of backcountry/camping experience they have already."
WTA also runs a youth volunteer vacation program for teens ages 14-18, where kids have the opportunity to learn backcountry, trailbuilding and leadership skills. New teen participants are placed in "front-country" trips while returning kids can opt for more remote backcountry locations.
All trips -- for adults and youth -- cost $145-$195 for WTA members; non-members are charged an extra $40 for the first trip.
The trips fill up fast, so register soon!