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?
The service we provide at TKO to protect and enhance the Oregon hiking experience through advocacy, stewardship, outreach, and education is only possible thanks to you and others in our community. Your gift to the Legacy Keepers Matching Fund will allow TKO to build upon the momentum from the last few years. In 2021 alone your past support allowed us to:
You’ll see firsthand the direct impact you can have on Oregon’s trails in the coming year. Wherever in the state you love to hike, your support will help TKO do even more for your beloved trails in 2022 and beyond.
We’ve all been through a lot over the last few years… Together, we’re navigating so much that we’ve never seen before. Our moments in nature are seemingly critical to reset, take the long view and hike on through these challenges. Oregon’s trails are more important than ever – to more people than ever. Increased use – plus the wildfire damage to many of our treasured areas – makes Trailkeepers of Oregon’s mission more important than ever. Big, audacious challenges lay ahead for Oregon’s trails and our programming:
Read on for more details: TKO’s mission, vision & values, as well as how we are making change to our programming and Oregon’s trails to be more safe & welcoming!
In just under 5 years, TKO now has in place 8 staff people – with regional hubs in Portland, Columbia Gorge, Mt. Hood, & the northern/southern Oregon Coast. Each investment in TKO brings the possibility of staffing lifts to regions that need our support. TKO has a scalable growth plan to expand in urban regions down the Willamette Valley and connect to rural hubs to Oregon Coast and into eastern Oregon.
After 10 years a nonprofit, TKO stepped into hiring their first staff person in 2017. A capacity grant from REI Co-op made this possible, TKO implemented a donation program in July 2017. In 2 short months, a flood of support arrived with the overwhelming challenge of restoring Gorge trails from the Eagle Creek fire.
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. […]