Tuesday, June 08, 2010

Ruth Ittner
Thanks for all you've done!

Another one of Washington's great trail giants has left us to for more heavily trails. Ruth Ittner passed away on June 3 at the age of 92. She lived an incredible life and was responsible for the construction and revival of many of our beloved trails, including two of my favorite historic trails-the Iron Goat and Lime Kiln Trails. She was also responsible for our Sno-Park system for winter play.

According to Washington's HistoryLink.org; she was an:

Ecologist, trails advocate, hiking legend, tireless volunteer, author, and University of Washington public policy administrator, Ruth Ittner is most remembered for her work with Volunteers for Outdoor Washington and for building the Iron Goat Trail, a hiking trail near Skykomish that follows the old Great Northern Railway line. The Iron Goat Trail would eventually take more than 20 years to complete and Ittner is credited with getting the job done. Her skills in organizing and connecting government agencies and volunteers made the easily accessible and popular trail a reality. The first segment of the trail opened in October 1993.

In my Day Hiking Central Cascades book, I reference Ruth's dedication to the Iron Goat Trail:

The focal point of the Stevens Pass Historic District, the Iron Goat Trail retraces part of the Great Northern Railway, northernmost of the 19th century US transcontinental rail lines. The creation of Minnesota tycoon James J. Hill (“The Empire Builder”), the Great Northern reached Seattle in 1893 greatly stimulating commerce and settlement in the region. Iron Goat, the name chosen for the trail comes from the railroad’s logo, a mountain goat.
Before beginning, check out the 1951 caboose and informative kiosk dedicated to Ruth Ittner, driving force behind the trail and one of the founders of VOW. And before arriving check out the trail’s website (http://www.irongoat.org) or the Iron Goat Trail Guidebook (Mountaineers Books) to get the most out of your visit(s).

I had the opportunity to meet this incredible woman earlier this year. It was a great honor to meet this Washington Trails Legend. We'll miss you Ruth--but you will always be with us thanks to your tireless and unselfish work to the hiking community of Washington. Celebrate Ruth's life this weekend by taking to the Iron Goat or Lime Kiln Trail . Let her spirit, dedication, and commitment to the environment and trails live on!

1 comment:

karen said...

Ruth Ittner was one of the most passionate, energetic persons I ever met in The Mountaineers. It was hard to say "no" to Ruth - she'd show up everywhere, a sweet, feisty gadfly who'd buttonhole one (sooner or later) into adopting one of her causes sooner or later. I had the pleasure of working with her from time to time and taking The Mountaineer photography course when she took the course. She was truly the "youngest" elder I ever met. We should all be so lucky. Or work so hard.