Washington Trails Association partners with local group to help Edmonds park

Participants learn about safety at the beginning of the day.

On Saturday morning Jan. 7, over 20 volunteers joined the Edmonds Ivy League and Washington Trails Association at Southwest County Park to learn the basics of trail maintenance. In spite of light rain, spirits remained high throughout a day of removing vegetation encroaching on the trail, sawing up several downed trees that were blocking trails, and learning drainage techniques to help water run off the path.

Volunteers prepare to saw a fallen tree blocking the trail.

“I totally enjoyed the event,” said Tom Bedner, a regular Ivy League volunteer. “I met some great people and learned new trail maintenance techniques. I especially enjoyed crosscutting to remove logs from the trail.”

The one-day event, “Introduction to Trail Work” was the result of a brainstorm between Washington Trails Association (WTA) and the Edmonds Ivy League.  WTA is a statewide association founded in 1966 with a mission to mobilize hikers and everyone who loves the outdoors to explore, steward and champion trails and public lands.

Participants clean existing drains and create new ones to help water flow off the trail.

WTA North Puget Sound Field Coordinator Brandon Tignor, who led the work party, said he “is pleased to help volunteers develop skills so they can continue to improve local parks.” Hikers may have seen WTA volunteer work crews high up in the Cascade Mountains, but one of WTA’s goals is to support local green spaces. The Trail Next Door Campaign is helping ensure that nature is always in reach by working in parks in neighborhoods and collaborating with partners, such as the Edmonds Ivy League, to increase access to green spaces across Washington.

The Edmonds Ivy League, under the leadership of volunteer park steward Mikael Ohman, removes invasive plants and maintains the trails in Southwest County Park every Saturday morning year round.  “If left to their own devices, ivy, holly and laurel will outcompete our native trees and plants, replacing the forest floor and killing the trees,” said Ohman. “If we want this park to still be around in a hundred years, we need to help our native flora and fauna.”

Ohman has organized weekly work parties, Earth Day events and church group volunteer activities in the park since 2018.

Southwest County Park is a 120-acre undeveloped forest entirely within the boundaries of Edmonds. Perrinville Creek runs through the larger section of the park, which is divided by Olympic View Drive.  In the park, visitors can view cedar stumps and other evidence of Edmond’s early logging history.

— Story and photos courtesy of Edmonds Ivy League

  1. Thank you to all of the volunteers, especially the weekly Ivy League for taking care of these trails and working hard to keep the park from being taken over by the non-native species. South County Park is such a local gem.

  2. You did a terrific job clearing branches off the trail after the last big windstorm. Thank you so much. Our dog and I really appreciate you and the opportunity to walk through this park. And thanks to all who remove ivy.
    Ginny Burger

  3. Thank you WTA and especially the Edmonds Ivy League that is out there every Saturday!
    Just a suggestion, a garbage can at the parking area off Olympic View Dr would be awesome.

  4. Bowing down to WTA and all the Ivy League Volunteers for all of your hard and dedicated work! It does not go unnoticed! I agree with Tana…a garbage receptacle of some sort would be really helpful/useful at the park’s parking area. Thanks!

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