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?
If we’ve learned anything this year, it’s that we all rely on each other to be the best we can be. This week, the Portland based, all-women hiking group Trailmix has come together to match all donations, up to $5000! That means every dollar you give this week is twice as powerful. If you’re going to give, give now! Huge thanks the folks at Trailmix for their powerful partnership and for supporting Oregon’s trails.
This spectacular mini-gorge within the Gorge leaves most visitors in silent awe, not just because figuring out how to say its name can be elusive. Pronounced “Oh-nee-ON-ta”, this deep channel and its accompanying waterfalls was a classic Gorge sight until the Eagle Creek Fire rendered it too dangerous to access. This beloved trail and waterway has been closed to public access since 2017.
The trail waits now for trail work below Triple Falls and the construction of the a new bridge to replace one lost in the fire. The next two miles of trail above the bridge has not been explored since 2017. What we have seen implies a large amount of work to clear the trail to the Horsetail Junction and above onto the switchback portion.
In addition to being one of the farthest west long loop hikes in the Gorge, the Oneonta Trail is also key to resuming access to the Horsetail Creek Trail, and eventually the west side of Nesmith Point. Both of these areas are quite remote from any road and opening them will almost certainly require overnight projects. You can help us get this work done by donating today!
In 2017, the Eagle Creek fire changed the Columbia Gorge forever – running over 40+ thousand acres and closing over 122 miles of trails. This event changed the trajectory of our small nonprofit, propelling us into a role that we barely kept up with. Only by way of a motivated community of volunteers, we grew quickly and stepped in to help on trails that were in different degrees of damage. 3 years later the heart of the Gorge is breathing new life, but many trails are still closed. Only by way of the shear power of our volunteers and supporters, TKO continues to hoof it up them hills and get after the next trails that we seek to recover. Help us do more!
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. […]