Hikers organize to improve mountain trails


September 21, 2022

Anne Basye

TAKING A BREATHER – Longtime trail volunteers Duane and Joan Melcher take it easy on the commemorative bench to be installed on Blanchard Mountain in recognition of their decades of volunteering.

When Bill Hayton and Laurence McCulloch moved to Pleasant Ridge, they wanted to explore hiking trails in the region.

Joan Melcher made that happen.

Melcher, 85, is the point person of the Skagit Audubon hiking group. For almost 30 years, she has planned 52 hikes a year and accompanied hikers of all skill levels to the trailhead and beyond. Whether it's a walk around Mt. Erie or a 2,000-foot climb to Maple Pass, Melcher makes sure everyone returns safe and sound.

Almost every week, Melcher can be found in a grocery store parking lot with a clipboard, helping Hayton, McCulloch, this reporter and...

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