To enable our members to continue to hike in the midst of this terrible pandemic, the Wanderbirds Hiking Club adopted the following new policies. These are intended to comply with national and local COVID recommendations to minimize the risk of COVID exposure for all participants. We want our hikers to feel comfortable hiking with each other and to feel confident they won't inadvertently be taking COVID home with them.

Please note our volunteers are working hard to keep records up-to-date, but it may take as long as two weeks after you submit your membership, Health and Liability Waiver Agreement, and proof of vaccination to be notified that you are on the hike "eligibility list." You will receive an email confirmation at that time.

New Policies

All participants in Club-sponsored hikes:

  1. Must be members of the Wanderbirds Hiking Club,

    You can become a member of Wanderbirds by completing the form on our Membership page and submitting your dues payment either on-line or by mail.

  2. Must complete the Wanderbirds Health and Liability Waiver Agreement,

    Please take the time to follow this link: H&L Waiver Agreement, and read through the form to be sure you can agree to its terms.
    If you have any questions about the H&L Waiver Agreement form, contact the Wanderbirds Health Coordinators (HC's) by email: Health@wanderbirds.org.
    It is necessary to complete his step only once. Please do not make multiple submissions of the H&L Waiver Agreement. If you later realize that you need to change an entry, contact the HC's by email.

  3. Must provide evidence of being fully vaccinated against COVID-19.

    This provision follows the strategy introduced at our Club Picnic last spring: "Trust but verify."
    This is the second step in the process for members to become eligible to join our hikes.
    You can take a photo of your vaccination card and email it to Health@wanderbirds.org.
    The HC's recognize this is private information and they always delete the vaccine card images after they are reviewed. No vaccine card images are permanently stored. If you are not comfortable with sending an image of your card by ordinary email, the HC's will help you work out a more secure way.

Once these requirements have been met, the member is added to the list of those "eligible to participate" in Club-sponsored hikes. Please allow up to two weeks for your name to be added to the list. You will receive an email confirmation from the HC's when your name is added.

New Procedures

Currently, we generally schedule two hikes every weekend, one on Saturday, one on Sunday, though this plan may vary. These are "meet-at-trailhead" hikes, and hikers are responsible for providing their own transportation to and from the trailhead. We encourage carpooling, but please do not ask the leaders to coordinate this. We're trying not to increase their burden.

Usually, the hike leaders select the hike location and plan the route. For the most part, the meet-at-trailhead hikes are relatively close--within approximately an hour's drive from downtown DC. Sometimes they are inside the District of Columbia or nearby communities. Our leaders have come up with some very interesting places to hike.

The leaders sometimes limit the number of hikers, usually between 10 and 25. Currently, the Club does not charge fees for these hikes, but if fees are associated with the venue (park entrance fees, for example) hikers are responsible for them.

Please be aware that hike leaders cannot accept membership renewal applications or payments. Use the Membership page to renew.

Every Tuesday, an eblast is emailed to eligible members (those who have met the hiker eligibility requirements above) announcing the hikes for the upcoming weekend. We ask that members not share this announcement, because we don't want to put the leaders in the awkward position of having to deny eager hikers who are not yet eligible. The announcement contains a brief description of the hike, metrics for difficulty level, the number of hikers, trailhead location and starting time, leaders' names and emails.

Important -- Hike leaders cannot view your vaccination card and approve your eligibility to join the hike. Only the Health Coordinators can do this. Hike leaders are instructed to accept only those hikers on the list of eligible hikers that is sent to them prior to the hike. Please do not try to shortcut the process.

Here's the typical weekly schedule of events leading up to the hikes:

  • On Monday (five days before the hikes are scheduled),

    Additions to the list of eligible hikers is cut off, and that list is sent to the hike leaders.

  • On Tuesday (four days before the hikes are scheduled),

    The hike announcement is sent as an eblast to all members on the eligible-hiker list.

  • From Tuesday through Friday (before the hikes are scheduled),

    Hike leaders accept signups by email, and if appropriate, send additional information to the signed-up hikers.

  • On Saturday and Sunday (when the hikes are scheduled),

    The hikes take place.

After you see the announcement, you can request to sign up for a hike by sending email to the leader(s). They will send a response to confirm, and will probably follow up with additional information about the hike. Because there are a limited number of spaces, we ask that you not sign up for more than one hike per weekend.