Traildusters building new trail at Pilchuck Tree Farm

ARLINGTON — Equestrians who enjoy riding their horses through the Pilchuck Tree Farm are helping build a new trail.

Beth Hill is one member of the Traildusters group who is spending her Saturdays working on the project.

“I ride on the tree farm about two or three times every month,” said Hill, who lives along the Centennial Trail on the north edge of Marysville.

“You wouldn’t believe it but this hillside was covered with blackberries before we started this project last fall,” Hill explained, adding there was an incident last year that caused the tree farm to lock the south entrance gate on the Lake Armstrong road.

“We told them we understand why they had to lock the gate, but is there anything we can do to make it possible for us to continue entering from the south side?” Hill said.

“Since this is a major access for the horses, we asked if we could put in a new trail and Duane Weston helped us figure out the routing of the new trail,” Hill added. Weston is a retired employee of the tree farm and continues to serve as liaison between tree farm management and the Pilchuck Recreation Association, representing different user groups of the tree farm for recreational purposes.

The Traildusters Chapter of Backcountry Horsemen of Washington have helped build and maintain trails through the years to keep the tree farm management happy so they will continue to allow the public access to the tree farm for recreational purposes. The owner of several mules as well as the Belgians that bring Santa Claus into town every year in Arlington, Mark Winterhalter offered up his mules, Honey, Sisco and Edith, to help on Saturday, Feb. 28. The mules complimented the efforts of Steve Reppert’s tractor, when nearly more than 10 people helped haul gravel and install a culvert in a soggy section of the trail. The saddle bags on mules were loaded from buckets by human muscle.

“Two mules can carry as much as one tractor load,” Winterhalter said.

Winterhalter often helps with work parties at the tree farm.

“I like to ride in the tree farm and so I believe it’s important to help with whatever needs to be done,” Winterhalter said. Hill said they had one more day of work to complete the project.

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