On May 30, 2015, volunteers worked along side employees of the U.S. Forest Service Methow District  to built a new access trail serving a crag near Mazama, Washington. This project came about as a result of a remarkable collaboration between local climbers, a national environmental group, and the District.

Mike Liu and Other Volunteers at Work by Natalie Kuehler

Mike Liu and Other Volunteers at Work. Photo by Natalie Kuehler.

The success of the Matrix trail construction project is a model of how partnerships can benefit outdoor recreation and reduce resource impacts.

–Mike Liu, Methow District Ranger

This trail was originally meant not to be. In 2014 a climber was working on an access trail at The Matrix when he was ticketed for building an unapproved trail. Local climbers leapt to his defense, however, and the District Ranger was willing to discuss the matter. Locals and a national environmental organization, the National Forest Foundation, joined the discussion and all of this lead to a collaborative effort to complete environmental review and other efforts necessary to formally approve a new trail serving the crag.

Climbers need to know that this was a one off. A variety of regulations and a management agreement between the Forest Service and the Department of Fish and Wildlife make the addition of new trails in the North Cascades region very difficult.