WEEK 3: Bring back trails from wind & fire

Ask any Crew Leader and they’ll tell you that the most important trail tool is a solid pair of comfortable boots. We’ve got TEN pairs from KEEN to give away this week!

We’re excited to announce that TKO is working with KEEN to create a first-of-its-kind boot scholarship fund for folks who want to volunteer but dont have the right footwear. This program will debut in 2022. You can help make make it a success by supporting TKO today.

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Bring Oregon’s Trails Back from Fire & Wind

Thousands of acres of public land and trails were closed last year after the devastating Beachie Creek Fire. After everything TKO learned from recovering trails in the Columbia River Gorge after the Eagle Creek Fire, we knew we had to help. A spring internship program, working with land managers on in-depth trail assessment and recovery plans, and ongoing volunteer events are just a few of the ways we are and will continue to give back.

But we can’t do it with out support from donors like you who provide us with the resources that make this work possible. TKO’s volunteers are eager to tackle the huge amount of work thats waiting for us in the Santiam Sate Forest and beyond. 

BY THE NUMBERS:

FIRE AFFECTED TRAILS

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Feet of Trail Improved

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# of Trail Parties

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Volunteer Participants

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In Kind Value of Volunteer Time

Learning by Doing

We know from experience that the best way to teach someone a skill is to get a tool in their hands and let them experience the process for themselves. This happened to TKO as an organization as we embraced our role as a recovery partner after the Eagle Creek Fire. This philosophy has since been built into everything we do.

Fire recovery takes dedicated and persistent focus. After finding success piloting an internship position dedicated to recovering trails in the Gorge, we knew that this approach was a perfect fit for the trails that had been swept up in the Beachie Creek Fire. We collaborated with Northwest Youth Corps to support not just one but three internship positions dedicated to trails in the Santiam State Forest. Their work during the spring helped lay the ground work for community volunteers to come in and keep drumming the beat of fire recovery stewardship!

Join the Legacy

The past few years have seen record damage to trails from wildfire and wind storms across the state. From southern Oregon to the central coast to the Willamette National forest, these events left behind a lot of work to be done.

TKO has been here before. Here is where we know we can step up:

  • Building a transformed leader to provide a safe, equitable and inclusive outdoor space – A TKO Crew Leader is a special volunteer type, learning how to provide safe and welcoming experiences requires training and support. TKO is building a leadership pipeline that is making stewardship safe and fun for all!
  • Foundational skills to catch the trail bug – Building and maintaining trails is fun and satisfying when you know how to solve the problems that you find. It takes some practice, and we have a learning laboratory for building those skills.
  • Technical skills for volunteer and professionals – Anyone can be a Trailkeeper. Knowing how to tackle technical trail problems like sawing a jackstrawed mess of windblown trees, battering a rock wall to stand the test of time or stringing logs for a timber bridge? Learn by doing with TKO.

The surge of community support and involvement after the Eagle Creek Fire in 2017 is where many of the current TKO Crew Leaders got their start. We have used what we learned from those experiences of bring trails back from the ashes to build a cohort of skilled volunteers across the state. We have been working tirelessly for the last three years to build a training program for trail steward volunteers to be ready to tackle any trail issues that arise, including fire impacts.

Join the Legacy

Latest News

Become a Volunteer Trail Ambassador!

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?

[…]

Call for Volunteers to serve as Trail Ambassadors

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 natalie.ferraro@trailkeepersoforegon.org

The Clackamas River Trail: a wildfire recovery primer

TKO and Forest Service staff scout and remove logs on the Clackamas River Trail during the winter.

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. […]

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