Boeing volunteers build sustainable trails in the Cascade Mountains

Volunteers flatten trails and remove vegetation to protect local wetlands and wildlife habitat

June 12, 2019 in Our Community

Boeing volunteers gathered on a perfect Pacific Northwest spring day, complete with blue skies, new vegetation in the Middle Fork Valley and the babbling Snoqualmie River as a backdrop. On National Trails Day, which occurred on June 1, Puget Sound-area employees built sustainable hiking trails, partnering with nonprofit Mountains to Sound Greenway.

“I enjoy hiking so I thought it would be a good thing to build the trails that I’ll definitely hike on one day,” said Andrii Sokolenko, a structural engineer based in Renton.  Boeing has been one of the few businesses to support this campaign – contributing $500,000 –  to restore the Middle Fork trail. The trail became a National Heritage site this year after a 20-year effort to reclaim it for public recreation.

In the early 2000s, the Middle Fork Valley was not suitable for hiking and natural recreation because of high crime rates, which made it unsafe to visit. Now, the trailhead is threatened by being “loved to death,” as nearby Seattle grows.

The work Boeing volunteers contributed will help protect wetlands and wildlife habitat as more people visit the area. More than 20 Boeing volunteers worked from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. flattening trails, removing vegetation, repositioning rocks, and moving 16-foot beams up the mountain to construct new trails. Volunteering is part of the DNA of Boeing employees. In 2018, employees volunteered 250,000 hours at Washington nonprofits, which resulted in more than $2.5 million in cash contributions to those organizations.

Boeing is a major contributor to the Mountains to Sound Greenway’s capital campaign to restore the Middle Fork Valley Trailhead.

By Monica Zimmer