Category Archives: Newsletter

Gorge Recovery Efforts Taking Shape

By Steve Kruger, Executive Director, Trailkeepers of Oregon

Work in the Columbia River Gorge has changed dramatically for Trailkeepers of Oregon since September 2, 2017. On Labor Day weekend we saw the Eagle Creek Fire race across some of the most highly prized scenic sites and hiking terrain in Oregon. Over the following weeks the fire grew to encompass nearly 49,000 acres, leaving a mosaic pattern of different severities of burned landscape and closing 121 miles of trails.

A park ranger points to a sloping rocky trail at the base of a cliff with burnt trees around.
Oregon State Park Ranger Jamen Lee points to where the trail grade for the Upper McCord Trail has been overcome by debris and landslides from the Eagle Creek Fire during initial post-fire trails assessments in October 2017. Photo by Andrea Berkeley.

Continue reading Gorge Recovery Efforts Taking Shape

TKO’s First Oregon Trails Summit

By Steve Kruger, Executive Director, Trailkeepers of Oregon

On October 27, trails professionals from nonprofits, outdoor recreation companies, and land management agencies came together in Bend, Oregon, for TKO’s first crack at hosting an Oregon Trails Summit.

A large high-ceilinged room with dozens of people at tables listening to a speaker at a podium.
An afternoon update on the Statewide Comprehensive Outdoor Recreation Plan (SCORP) by Oregon State Park’s Terry Bergerson. SCORP is Oregon’s five-year plan for outdoor recreation. Its primary purpose is to provide up-to-date, accurate information to assist recreation providers with park system planning in Oregon. Photo by Daniel Sharp Photography.

Continue reading TKO’s First Oregon Trails Summit

Trail Work Spotlight: McIver Viewpoint Trail

By Elaine Keavney, Board Member, Trailkeepers of Oregon

Along the Clackamas River between Oregon City and Estacada, 951-acre Milo McIver State Park has historically had a single trail connecting its upper and lower northern sections. Because frequent slides and the resulting repairs temporarily closed the Vortex Loop hillside section of the trail almost every year the past few years, Oregon State Parks was given grant funding to create a new, more sustainable trail. It would begin at a new Milo McIver Memorial Viewpoint overlooking the Clackamas River with views of Mount Hood and Mount Adams, and end near a meadow in the lower northern section of the park. Park Ranger John Hilbert contacted TKO Crew Leader Elaine Keavney about the possibility of TKO volunteers leading the trail-building project. Pat and Elaine Keavney met with the ranger several times in early September 2016 to flag the proposed route.

A hard-hatted woman pounds a sledge hammer onto an upright log while two trail workers support the log with straps.
Elaine Keavney pounds a Grimm stake to secure a curb log along the Viewpoint Trail, while two trail workers support the log with straps. Photo by Elaine Keavney.

Continue reading Trail Work Spotlight: McIver Viewpoint Trail

An Interview with Roberta Lowe

By Michael McDowell, Newsletter Editor, Trailkeepers of Oregon

In the 1970s and 1980s, photographer Don Lowe and writer Roberta Lowe published the first trail guides for hiking in Oregon. Their series of hiking guidebooks opened trails throughout Oregon for a generation of hikers. On a rainy afternoon in November, Michael McDowell and John Sparks sat down with Roberta Lowe to discuss the outdoor career she and her husband Donald pursued. Responses have been edited for concision and clarity.

A woman with ice axe in hand descends a sheet of snow that appears suspended in the air.
Roberta Lowe crosses a snow bridge on Mount St. Helens around 1964 while “wandering about until we had sufficiently amused ourselves.”

Continue reading An Interview with Roberta Lowe

Hike of the Season: Riverside Trail

By Cheryl Hill, Board Member, Trailkeepers of Oregon

When winter snow has buried your favorite trails at high elevations, the Riverside National Recreation Trail #723 along the Clackamas River offers a great alternative. At 1,500 feet elevation, the trail is accessible during most of the winter except when the snow level has dropped very low. With a rushing river, creek crossings, towering trees, and a mossy forest, this hike will whet your appetite during the wet days of winter, but not overly tax you. The four-mile-long trail follows the river between Rainbow and Riverside campgrounds, but the Riverside Trailhead around the midway point is a good starting point for this hike.

A river flowing through a forest.
View of the Clackamas River from the Riverside Trail. Photo by Cheryl Hill.

Continue reading Hike of the Season: Riverside Trail

Paydirt: Trails on the North Fork John Day River

By John Sparks

Much of the North Fork John Day River Wilderness is a resurrected landscape, especially along its watercourses, and still recovering from placer mining operations that sifted entire stream beds and blasted away hillsides from the 1860s into the 1950s.

A whitewater river bounded by coniferous trees on steep banks and a steep slope in the distance.
The North Fork John Day is returning to pristine condition. Photo by John Sparks.

One portal to the wilderness is via the upper North Fork itself, and from the North Fork John Day Campground you can hike a good loop  that takes in trails established by miners, their mule teams, and later their vehicles. Continue reading Paydirt: Trails on the North Fork John Day River

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”