The easy, approximately five-mile walk is part of the Land Trust’s free Summer Nature Walk series.
Executive Director Joe Kane will guide the group on the trail, which opened last November and has quickly become one of Eatonville’s most popular attractions. It connects to over 40 miles of foot and bike trails in the University of Washington’s Pack Forest, including popular hikes to the upper and lower falls on the Little Mashel River.
The Land Trust hike will include a visit to some of the Pacific Northwest’s first engineered logjams, which were installed along the Mashel to jump-start habitat recovery for threatened Chinook salmon and steelhead trout. Protection and restoration of habitat on the Mashel, the largest tributary to the Nisqually River, are critical for the survival of both species.
The Bud Blancher Trail starts in town, at the first-ever pedestrian bridge across the Mashel. The bridge was completed last November and is also an excellent platform for viewing spawning salmon.
“It’s a beautiful walk,” said Kane, “The Mashel River is a well-kept secret, and it has real magic to it. This is one of the rare places you can witness that.”
The Land Trust played a key supporting role in the trail’s development by helping Eatonville to acquire some $1.2 million in salmon-habitat properties along the river that could also be used for the trail, both now and for future expansion.
“The Bud Blancher Trail is also a great demonstration that good conservation can be good business,” Kane said. “The trail is helping Eatonville to re-invent itself as a recreation hub – ‘Leavenworth without the leiderhosen.’”
There are two more Nature Walks left in this summer’s series. The next event will be at the Land Trust’s Mount Rainier Gateway Reserve, near Ashford, on Saturday, August 22nd, from 10:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.
Space is limited and registration is free but required for all walks. Contact the Nisqually Land Trust at 360-489-3400 x 110 or firstname.lastname@example.org for more information and to register.
The Nisqually Land Trust acquires and manages critical lands to permanently benefit the water, wildlife, and people of the Nisqually River Watershed. The Land Trust, in collaboration with watershed communities and key partners, has protected over 5,000 acres between Mount Rainier National Park and the Nisqually National Wildlife Refuge. For more information, contact us at 360.489.3400 or visit www.nisquallylandtrust.org.