Category Archives: Newsletter

Hot Springs in the Forest

By Cheryl Hill and John Sparks

A man leaning back in a chair smoking a pipe with four other men sitting around a campsite.
A group of men camped at Bagby Hot Springs in the 1920s.

The Bagby Hot Springs Trail #544 is one of a number of trails that once led to the 136-degree pools above the Hot Springs Fork of the Collawash River. American Indians had long known about and used the hot springs along the Hot Springs Fork when prospector Robert Bagby visited the site in 1881 following a rough sign with an arrow labeled “Hell.” Continue reading Hot Springs in the Forest

Hike of the Season: Potato Butte

By John Sparks

The lower portion of the trunks of ten large coniferous trees foregrounded against innumerably more trees behind them.
Old-growth forest on the lower section of the Red Lake Trail.

There’s a back way into the Olallie Lake Scenic Area, and it requires the relief of driving decent gravel for less than a mile as compared to the dusty, sometimes spine-shattering washboard experience of getting in to the often crowded shores of Olallie Lake itself. The semi-secret is the Red Lake Trail #719. The hike does require a little elevation gain up the escarpment above the Clackamas River, but it delivers you to a series of backcountry lakes with camp spots—Red, Averill, Wall, Sheep, and Fork lakes—which are some of the less-visited in the area. In fact, the trail still exhibits some of the old varnished trail signs of a past age and even one marker referencing the Skyline Trail, precursor to the Pacific Crest Trail! Continue reading Hike of the Season: Potato Butte

Volunteer Spotlight: Geri Marz

By Michael McDowell

A woman in a hard hat standing on a steep slope with her hands on a large rock.
Geri doing rock work at Trail Skills College, April 2017.

Geri Marz joined Trailkeepers about a year ago. She’s volunteered weekly almost ever since joining, and put in many volunteer days over the past winter, spring, and summer on a trail crew building the new Viewpoint Trail at Milo McIver State Park. John Sparks and Michael McDowell met with her in August to discuss her TKO volunteering. Continue reading Volunteer Spotlight: Geri Marz

Oregon Creates an “Office of Outdoor Recreation”

By Tom Kloster, President, Trailkeepers of Oregon

Man kneeling in water holding a large fish
Oregon Representative Ken Helm with a catch!

In its 2017 session, the Oregon legislature passed a pair of bills that created a new “Office of Outdoor Recreation” and established the first Saturday in June as “Outdoor Recreation Day.” Trailkeepers of Oregon partnered with the Mazamas, Oregon Wild, the Sierra Club, and other outdoor groups to support passage of the bills. Representative Ken Helm (D-Beaverton), a TKO member and co-sponsor of the “Office of Outdoor Recreation” bill, says he hopes the new legislation will help the Oregon Parks and Recreation Department better promote and support outdoor organizations like TKO. Continue reading Oregon Creates an “Office of Outdoor Recreation”

Send a Ranger!

By Steve Kruger, Executive Director

A man in rain jacket and hard hat kneeling in green foliage.
Steve Kruger cutting new trail at Punchbowl Falls Park on a Trailkeepers of Oregon work party in June, near Hood River.

While chopping up the dirt on a trail near Hood River with TKO volunteers not long ago, I was answering as many questions as I was asking as we got acquainted. Having recently left my job as an Oregon State Parks ranger to accept the role of Executive Director of Trailkeepers of Oregon, I get asked plenty of questions. My most common reply is, “They thought they should send a ranger. A jack of all trades, right?” One of my fellow crew members said, “Did you know there is a second part to that phrase? A jack of all trades is a master of none, but oftentimes better than a master of one.” It brought a smile to my face and reminded me of a line from a seminal figure in public lands’ history about the many roles of park rangers: Continue reading Send a Ranger!

Eagle Creek Fire

By Tom Kloster, President, Trailkeepers of Oregon

Standing dead trees on a steep slope down to a wide blue river with mountains in the background on the other side of the river.
Snags from the 1991 gorge fire at Angel’s Rest as they appeared in 2013.

Fires in the Columbia River Gorge are as old as the place itself. Early white settlers called it the “Devil’s Wind” when summer drought combined with the wind-tunnel effect of the gorge to create racing forest-fire infernos. As recently as 1991, fires burned a swath from Angel’s Rest to Multnomah Falls and a separate fire burned Wauna Point above Eagle Creek. These same areas burned again this month, and so this timeless cycle continues. Continue reading Eagle Creek Fire

The Construction of Timberline Lodge

Undated photo showing Timberline Lodge’s setting on the south side of Mt. Hood.

Timberline Lodge serves as the starting point for several of the most popular hikes on Mount Hood. The iconic around-the-mountain Timberline Trail starts and ends at the lodge. It’s now once again a complete 41.5-mile trail, thanks in part to the volunteers of TKO for helping to build a new section of trail at the washed-out Eliot Branch crossing. Hikes from the lodge lead west to Zigzag Canyon, further west to Paradise Park, north up the mountain to the Silcox Hut, and east to the White River Canyon. Continue reading The Construction of Timberline Lodge

Developing “Trail Eyes”

Slough and trail creep on the Wygant Trail near Mitchell Point, Columbia River Gorge. The arrow shows where the uphill edge of the trail should be.

Almost every hiking trail in the Northwest has been worked on by a volunteer group. Trailkeepers of Oregon’s robust network of volunteers maintain the trails that we all love to hike, correcting problems and improving the overall hiking experience. Most people who have done trail work say that they will never look at a trail the same way again. But you don’t have to join a work party to begin developing “trail eyes” (although we would love to have you!). Here are some things to watch for as you hike. Continue reading Developing “Trail Eyes”

Summer Hike of the Season: McCully Basin

Looking across McCully Basin to Mount Melissa.

In summer Oregon hikers dust off their backpacks and stray far from their urban bases in search of an immersive experience in the outdoors. The Eagle Cap Wilderness in the Wallowa Mountains is a favorite choice with its fault-block peaks and open ridges and lake basins. If you’ve already spent a summer backpack or two in some of the popular Wallowa destinations, you’ll appreciate the solitude of this summer’s hike of the season—the somewhat un-Wallowa-like hike in the McCully Basin. Continue reading Summer Hike of the Season: McCully Basin

Join Now: Become a Trailkeeper

Trailkeepers of Oregon has been working to enhance the Oregon hiking experience for ten years now. As we look to the future, we see critical opportunities to protect and improve our connections to the natural and scenic wonders of Oregon. We are poised to seize these opportunities to preserve our state’s trail legacy, build new trails today, and advocate for the trails of tomorrow. We need your support to expand our programming and volunteer-driven stewardship activities. With no paid staff we have accomplished much in our ten years as a trails nonprofit. But Oregon’s hiking trails need more than we’re currently able to provide, due to increased use of trails by a growing population, deterioration of trails from age, and damage to trails by extreme weather events. We need more members to expand our ability to care for the hiking trails across Oregon. We cannot do this without your help. As we build our membership, we can speak as a united voice for the Oregon hiking experience. Please make a statement of support for our work and for your natural and scenic wonders of Oregon. Join us by becoming a member today!

Steve Kruger

Executive Director, Trailkeepers of Oregon