Bellevue College crew helps maintain the Pacific Crest Trail

This spring, as part of Bellevue College’s Wilderness Skills Certificate program, 14 students taking a Hiking & Orienteering course joined their instructor, Peter Prescott, and me for a day of trail maintenance. Prescott serves as Bellevue’s Wellness Center Program Manager, Fitness Center Director and faculty member. This is the second year he brought his class to work on the Pacific Crest Trail.

“We had a great first experience with a professional passionate group of volunteers who understood the population and purpose of the outing,” he said. “They are not ready to work their finger to the bone but to have a great time and build an appreciation for the work.”

Students from Bellevue College’s Wilderness Skills Certificate program volunteer on the Pacific Crest Trail.

Students from Bellevue College’s Wilderness Skills Certificate program volunteer on the Pacific Crest Trail.

This year, Prescott and his students performed much-needed trail maintenance within Snoqualmie Ski Pass Area. The crew spent the day on a snowless ski slope tackling relentless erosion. The students, however, “were eager and happy as always,” and with the Kendall Katwalk as a backdrop, they removed berm, allowing water to continue downhill rather than forming a stream in the trail. They also learned how to fill braided tread with rock and gravel to compact loose material. And they repaired a crude footbridge, giving hikers and horseback riders a safer passage over a deep gully. In a single afternoon, the Bellevue College crew provided 82.5 volunteer hours while reconstructing 460 feet of very rugged tread.

Highlight of the day? According to Prescott: “it’s “the look of accomplishment on students faces…more than a few comments were made about the bridge project that I am sure many will bring friends to walk across and be proud to tell the story of their involvement.”

A huge thank you goes out to Prescott, Bellevue College, and the students for their great effort!

Author: Bill Hawley

Bill Hawley is our North Cascades Regional Representative. He's in charge of the PCT from Rock Creek in southern Washington to the Canadian border. His regional office is located in North Bend, Wash. Bill was out hiking the PCT “back before it was the PCT,” and has been a life-long devotee. He was an active volunteer before joining staff.