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?
Join a special troupe of nature guides for a family-friendly virtual variety show on December 13th at 9AM. Learn from these authors how hiking can open up a world of outdoor adventures – each special guest will have different activities & stories to share. Here’s how to get access to this virtual event:
• A suggested minimum donation of $20 = Virtual Event RSVP
• A $30 ticket = Virtual Event RSVP + a copy of the book of your choice + a TKO membership
• A $100 ticket = Virtual Event RSVP + a 4-book basket + a TKO membership
No matter which of the tickets you choose, our authors have made it possible for proceeds to go to TKO. A special thanks to one of our featured authors, outgoing TKO Board President Paul Gerald. Not only has he volunteered as TKO board member & volunteer, he has personally pledged to match each ticket sold up to $5,000 this week – doubling each dollar you donate to TKO!
Access to outdoor experiences is a right that everyone should have. While many find that connections to nature are just out their back door or a simple drive to a familiar trailhead, TKO recognizes that some people experience challenges in accessing nature, for a variety of reasons including personal safety. We also recognize that we are not the first stewards of these lands and trails. At the start of every TKO event, we recognize and give thanks to the Indigenous peoples and their descendants who cared for these special places long before those original stewards were forced to cede their lands to the United States. We acknowledge the privilege we have that allows us easy access and we seek to be a part of the solution to build safe and welcoming trails for all.
Oxbow Regional Park is the flagship of Portland’s Metro Parks & Nature system and a great place for people to begin their outdoor experiences. In 2017, we began building a relationship with Metro staff at Oxbow and offer community members ways to give back. And our work expands to many local, nature-hoods that bridge green spaces to our urban centers – adding value to the quality of life we seek to enjoy in Oregon. TKO volunteers have come together on a variety of projects with Metro Parks & Nature, in the future we are going to be lifting even more with a number of new park developments. Your support builds a community engagement that will see that the value of these places is met with a vested interest in their care.
TKO has been a nonprofit for just over 12 years. We are Portland-based and we strive to make all of our participants feel safe and welcome and to build stewardship skills within each and every person who comes to volunteer. Metro Parks & Nature recognizes the value-added when community members are not just park users, but park stewards. With strong relationships to precede us, stewardship growth can only happen through recruiting and training more people, become a Legacy Builder today to help us continue to grow.
…and so is giving back, no matter your age! In 2018, through an effort of a husband/wife TKO Crew Leader team, TKO began hosting family-friendly trail parties. We adapted our mindset and the structure and expectations for the day to make this experience something that any parent and kiddo could enjoy. Getting outside, getting grubby, and giving back to trails is the best way we know to teach and learn how to recognize the value of these special places! We hope you’ll join us in building a legacy of stewardship in local parks across Oregon.
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 email@example.com
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. […]