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 Oregon Coast is a sight to be seen. Known as the People’s Coast for its remarkable public access, the scenic vistas and rocky shores are endlessly connected by numerous hiking trails up and down the coastline. In 2018, TKO teamed up with Oregon Coast Visitors Association and many partners in a concerted effort to build a trail stewardship movement for the Oregon Coast Trail and connective trails systems.
Neahkahnie Mountain, at Oswald West State Park is an insider’s must-hike destination. A known “gap” in the Oregon Coast Trail is south to Manzanita and TKO has helped to see 2.5 miles of new trail developed. The north and central coast regions have been a focus, and now we have a concerted effort to the south coast region in 2020. The Samuel Boardman corridor of the Oregon Coast is breathtaking and we have our sights set on making a difference throughout this area. Join us in protecting this iconic place in Oregon. The video from some of our first trail parties sums up how we engage in our mission for trail stewardship and advocacy.
In 2015, TKO wrote a letter of support for a project to address a gap in the OCT between the South Neahkahnie Mt. trailhead of Oswald West State Park and the town of Manzanita. As it stands, hikers are limited to walking the busy should of Hwy. 101. Years later, the trail is under construction and TKO has been steadily helping in seeing the development through. The project had many challenges, but TKO helped in the final stages of approval by committing to being a lifelong partner in maintenance. The trail opens in the spring of 2020. Join us to help with the finishing touches throughout the winter and see how the development is shaping up.
Phase 2 of our Oregon Coast Visitors Association funding is going to help us build a movement of trail stewardship in the southern Oregon Coast region. We’ve signed volunteer agreements with Oregon State Parks Harris Beach Management Unit, assessed trails to build a portfolio of projects to tackle and have an internship position to help drum up a beat of stewardship within communities that are eager to get out and improve their trails. Short term funding is here now, but we need a long term approach. That’s where you can come in!
TKO has been busy on many segments of the Oregon Coast Trail. From Ecola all the way down to Lincoln City, we got after stewardship efforts and found a real need from our partners and land managers to step up. Not long after starting our efforts in August of 2018, Siuslaw National Forest staff reached out to TKO and we came with tools in hand. We have steadily worked to bring the trail close to opening, after the mighty wind storms of 2008. Come join us this week to get after it, we may just have a bunk bed for you too!
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. […]