For various reasons including, but not limited to, budget cuts and reduced staff; there has been a steady decline in open forest roads and trails. Usually these roads are shortened by decommissioning a portion of road and making inaccessible to the public the trails that it used to serve. Sometimes roads are put in storage or allowed to melt and the old road becomes an access trail to a trailhead previously served by the road. This effectively lengthens the hike, often by many miles, which limits public access to only the most fit and dedicated hikers. We then see a decline in use of the trail which can eventually result in its abandonment by the Forest Service or other government, and another trail is lost to public use.
It is our position that, as industrial uses of the local forest have declined, we should be seeing an increase in recreational use as a means to help maintain the local economy through tourism. However, fewer miles of roads, fewer campgrounds, and trails becoming less accessible to families limits tourism possibilities which further squeezes the local economy.
Our group of volunteers will work with local, county, state and federal government and other agencies offering public access, recreation or events in the Darrington area. Our goal is to assist in the maintenance of Darrington area forest roads, hiking trails, campgrounds and parks and public lands. Volunteers follow the safety standards of the Darrington Ranger District. We use hand held tools to clear culverts and ditches of debris, brush-out encroaching vegetation/scrub from road edges and trails and pick up litter.