By Cheryl Hill – TKO Trail Ambassador and author of Fire Lookouts of Oregon
You may know that you can volunteer with TKO to build and maintain trails, but did you know that you can also volunteer as a Trail Ambassador?
Advocating for new ventures and lost trails that access Oregon’s natural wonders has become a regular part of our work. There are endless possibilities for TKO to be a partner in finding lost trails and bringing day-dream projects to life. You can join the support for new and lost trails across Oregon by donating today!
The Salmonberry Trail is no small venture. Over 87 miles of railroad line are sitting dormant and have the possibility of connecting the Valley to the Coast . The canyon section in particular is right up TKO’s bailiwick. We’ve been working closely with the engineering consultant on this project to assess the viability of this trail connection, approaching in different ways a rail-to-trail and rail-with-trail conversion!
We are working with many partners to advocate for this trail and we may see projects begin in the portion that connects to Stub Stewart State Park as early as 2021. Your support builds a community engagement that will see that the value of these places is met with a vested interest in their care.
Make no mistake, while the 87-mile corridor has dozens of amazing trestle bridges, the scene you see here is not one of them. A series of once-in-a-hundered-year floods ravaged through the Coast Range and wreaked havoc on many communities and infrastructure. The Salmonberry Corridor was not spared. While the rail companies sought to rebuild and restore after 1997, there seemed to be a desire to pause after 2008. That is when the dream came alive for the rail-to-trail and rail-with-trail conversions. TKO has been working to offer alternatives to rebuilding railbed through a more wilderness-like trail development.
In addition to spectacular trestle bridges, some of which reach heights of more than 80 feet from the river below, the corridor is also home to 13 tunnels of varying lengths. Some tunnels are safe for passage, but others need to have the trail rerouted to safely circumnavigate the decaying structures. TKO has been scouting the hillsides for those trail alternatives. You can support these projects and speed up access to these wonders by donating today!
Portland, Ore. – March 3, 2022 – This spring, Trailkeepers of Oregon, the US Forest Service, Oregon State Parks and the Mt. Hood – Columbia River Gorge Regional Tourism Alliance are kicking off another season of the Trail Ambassador Program to equip visitors with the information they need for a safe, informed, and positive experience when hiking and visiting the region. The Trail Ambassador 2022 season will kick-off on Earth Day weekend, April 23rd, and Trailkeepers of Oregon is currently seeking volunteers.
Volunteer Trail Ambassadors are placed at some of the busiest trailheads in the Columbia Gorge and Mt. Hood. Volunteers will have the opportunity to table at trailheads and hike the trails on weekends during peak season. Volunteers will engage with the public to answer hiking and destination related questions, promote responsible stewardship ethics, communicate about trail conditions and alternative hike information, as well as direct folks to resources such as OregonHikers.org, Ready, Set, GOrge, and land manager and partner websites.
Trail Ambassadors communicate key safety and trail condition information integral to both keeping folks safe and promoting stewardship of our most heavily visited recreation sites. Staying on official trails, packing out waste, being responsible with pets, and knowing about other nearby options if the destination is overcrowded, are important aspects of the program.
“Local volunteer Trail Ambassadors are one of the greatest assets we have in the region to help inform and inspire safe and positive hiking experiences on our trails. A warm welcome and helpful advice can make the difference in having a good vs. bad experience on a trail and that is what Trail Ambassadors can provide. And who is better at sharing a favorite post-hike lunch or brewery suggestion than a local?” said Lizzie Keenan, Regional Lead for the Mt. Hood and Columbia River Gorge Regional Tourism Alliance.
Program organizers are looking for friendly, professional, outgoing individuals who enjoy informing and helping others and possess knowledge of Gorge and Mt. Hood trails. Volunteers are required to take an online training before signing up to volunteer.
For Trail Ambassador Program details and to sign up to volunteer, go to trailkeepersoforegon.org/trailambassadors.
There will be an online information sessions to answer any questions about the program. The next sessions are on March 16 at 6:30pm and April 6th at 12pm. Please register for the info sessions here.
For additional press questions, please contact Natalie Ferraro with Trailkeepers of Oregon at firstname.lastname@example.org
Since cutting their saw teeth after the Eagle Creek Fire in 2017, TKO Volunteers have (unfortunately) gotten really good at using their skills to recover trails from wildfire. Mt Hood National Forest has engaged TKO to help in the rehabilitation of the Clackamas River Trail, a popular hiking destination within the Mt Hood National Forest. […]