Bringing the Trail Crew to you! This is a continuation of our “Interview with a Volunteer” series that we’ll be using to bring the fun of being a Trailkeeper to you while you stay safe at home. […]
Sometimes starting right at the edge of your block, trails connect us to the “nature-hoods” of our cities and towns. Our local, county and regional parks are full of accessible beauty and wonder, all of which have significant gaps in protecting and enhancing trails. TKO has been connecting enthusiastic community members with stewardship opportunities very close to home. From Portland to Bend to Tillamook, we continue to make an impact in our urban parks – one trail at a time.
Oxbow Regional Park is a gem within the Metro Parks & Nature system in Portland. Meanwhile, Chehalem Ridge Nature Park is bound to be another crown jewel. As the population of the Portland region expands, more close to home outdoor recreation is critical. We’ve put tools-to-trail at Oxbow over the last few years, and Chehalem Ridge will be another place for us to tend to!
Three years ago we approached Metro Parks & Nature program staff to tackle projects at Oxbow, mainly to demonstrate that we can help bridge gaps in trail maintenance and propel enhancement projects forward when capacity, expertise and resources are spread thin. From running youth crews to hosting family-friendly days, we’ve done a lot for this park.
Chehalem Ridge Nature Park is in its final planning stages – roads, utilities, facilities and trails are all on their way. TKO is taking a part in the early stages of the work. We are calling it Christensen Creek Trail and it is a nature trail being designed by TKO staff and volunteer leaders to be an all-ages, all-abilities experience. Being able to design and build a new trail is a special thing, all the greater when it is within a newly forming park. Metro Parks & Nature has many new parks across the region and we are at the table discussing where to go next!
At Oxbow, we’ve resolved a backlog of maintenance along miles of trails for tread and corridor width, built small drainage crossings through the system to solve water pooling and/or running down trails. TKO helped break ground on the path and play stations for a new nature play area that was constructed in 2019 and improved viewing stations for the annual Salmon Festival while rerouting lost sections of trail that were consumed by the ever-changing path of the Sandy River. Our reputation with Metro staff has allowed us to expand to other parks across the region. While we’ve had great success, there is still more to be done – Oxbow will continue to be a place we put tools-to-trail.
By Tom Kloster
After the Eagle Creek Fire in September 2017, I know I was not alone in
sorting through photos and trip reports from before the fire. While it has
taken time for all of us to absorb the changes the fire brought to the Gorge,
seeing old photos of our favorite places from years passed was a needed
I am deeply concerned about what is happening to our Oregon State Parks with reductions in operational staff and the possible layoffs of critical support within the agency’s ranks. We are concerned this is a preview of what is going to happen across all public lands. All federal, state and local lands are scrambling to catch up on season staff changes while managing new normals in visitor safety — all in a time of re-opening public lands and the looming realities of shrinking budgets. Oregon’s citizenry can help, if we make it a priority.