Washington Trail Blazers

Trail Blazers History

Mike Swayne

The Trail Blazers is a volunteer organization of about 45 people that contributes most of its time, energy and knowledge toward helping the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife manage high lake fisheries. Members also participate in a variety of studies, conservation and wilderness protection activities, camp cleanups, stream restoration and trail maintenance, But the fish planting and surveying activities have given the Trail Blazers their focus that has endured for 65 years and has bound many of its members together for decades. Read More...

A History of the Trail Blazers

Charles M. Yadon

Written in 1946, this is an early account of the first twelve years of trail blazer history.

“For assistance to bashful hobbyists” -- these are the first words on the first page of the Trail Blazer minute book before formal organization took place. A group of 4 men who fished and hiked together conceived the idea of a club for comradeship on the trail, for mutual interchange of ideas and experiences in hiking, fishing, hunting and photographing on back-country trips. They hoped to learn together more of the Cascade mountain back country, more of fishing and hunting conditions, more about the conservation of fish and game, and to mutually assist each other with any hobby having to do with the outdoors. Those first words were a tentative statement of one purpose of the club. Read more...

Trail Blazer Films

These films from 1946 show Trail Blazers stocking Chetwoot Lake and building the old shelter at Nordrum Lake.

The three sided shelter at Nordrum Lake was a memorial for Bill Simon who was killed in action in World War II. It was listing beyond repair by 1972 and was burned shortly thereafter.

Trail Blazer Vignettes

Trail Blazer Vignettes is a collection trip reports taken from the trail blazer annuals between 1938 and 1961.

“As Myron ran around the car and lifted the radiator cap, it flew sky high and the steam broiled his left arm to a turn. I was having radiator trouble and everything seemed intent on stopping or delaying a perfectly planned vacation. Myron Christy and myself had planned food and equipment to the last ounce. Our packs weighed close to thirty pounds each and we were going to be mountain goatting for nine days...”

For links to the nine different trip reports and an introduction by Virg Harder, click here.

Title photo from magazine article in Outdoor Life

Outdoor Life: The Trail Blazers

Howard E. Jackson

Outdoor Life featured an article on the Trail Blazers in 1952.

“When the alarm routed me out of bed at 2 a.m. that September morning I was raring to go. Even though I was a little soft, I figured this tnp with a bunch of guys who call themselves the Trail Blazers would be no tougher than some I'd taken before,. including shooting rivers in foldboats or exploring caves In the Pacific Northwest.”

To read the full article (formatted similarly to actual publication) click here.

WDFW Organization of the Year 1997

Necklace Valley Cabin

Ken J. McLeod & Mike Swayne

Ever wondered about the history of the Necklace Valley Cabin? Here are a few historical tidbits collected from Trail Blazer members.

“In 1949 the Trail Blazers raised $700, through member donations, members soliciting donations, and a dance, to have the Forest Service build the Necklace Valley Cabin. The first cabin was started in a location that was buried in an avalanche and it had to be rebuilt in another location. Construction was completed in 1951.” Read More...

Lawson Memorial Group photo

Cliff Lawson Memorial

Mike Swayne

There was a good turnout for the Cliff Lawson memorial to the Lake Ann area near Rainy Pass. It was a nice day in a very scenic spot. The family put up a plaque in a rockslide overlooking the lake and spread and buried Cliff's remains.

Read about the Cliff Lawson Memorial.

Kilbourn Memorial Group photo

Clayton Kilbourn Memorial

Mike Swayne

The Clayton Kilbourn memorial was a memorable experience for those participating in any of the three groups. Group 1 took Clayton into June Lake, Group 2 hiked into the old Tonga Ridge sheep camp and Group 3 met at Mike Swayne's daughter Elizabeth’s home.

Read about the historical Trail Blazer trip

Lund Plaque thumbnail

The Charlie Lund Plaque

Ken J. McLeod

The weather this day was great -- we had a clear, blue sky and warm sunshine as we gathered at the trailhead for the hike to Lanham Lake. There at Lanham, we installed the Charlies and Emma Lund Memorial Plaque, in dedication to their contributions to conservation. Read More...

WDFW Organization of the Year 1997

WDFW Organization of the Year 1997

The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife awarded the Trail Blazers Organization of the Year in 1997.

This certificate is presented to The Trail Blazers In deep appreciation for your enhancement of alpine lake fishing and your steadfast involvement with our agency in promoting the conservation of fish and wildlife.

Click on the image to enlarge

Trophy History of the Trail Blazers

The Trail Blazers has a long history of passing awards to its members.

In 1956 a Trail Blazer who practiced dentistry during his spare time repossessed a set of false teeth. He donated them to the club and asked that they be (a) known as the Clackers Award, and (b) presented to any member who excelled in talking too much at a meeting.

Read more about the origins of this and other awards in this article.