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. […]
Mt. Hood National Forest is a unique and special place – in essence, an urban Forest with wilderness experiences for the 2.5 million people of the Portland metro region, Columbia Gorge towns and surrounding communities. TKO has drummed a beat here for well over a decade, drastically expanding our stewardship and advocacy efforts.
A number of initiatives have made for a powerful time for trail stewardship in this region:
Clackamas River Trail has been an annual site for our leaders to care for trails since 2013. Just under 3 years ago, the National Forest Foundation identified Mt. Hood National Forest as the next site for their Treasured Landscapes campaign and we jumped in with trail parties and trainings through our development of a trails training weekend called TKO Tread School. Not only has that training allowed us to engage new volunteers, the program has shed light on trails like the Salmon River Trail.
This week we identified two scenic sites of Oregon that are designated as National Wild & Scenic Waterways. The trails that correspond to these places are special to us and the Clackamas River Trail has been a place we have touched tools to trail for over 5 years. Two of our most dedicated crew leaders, Elaine & Patrick Keavney, have adopted this trail and are heading out this week to respond to reports of many trees down from storms last month. Join them!
With support from the National Forest Foundation and Oregon’s Mount Hood Territory, we have been pleased to offer an annual training event since 2018, nestled along the Salmon River within the Zigzag Ranger District. TKO Crew Leaders, as well as partner and agency instructors, deliver a comprehensive trails training, providing a foundation of trail design and maintenance skills. We’ve got the fun training all figured out, plus food/refreshments and a beautiful place to stay – grab a bunk, pitch your tent, or rent a room for the weekend and get ready to build some trails!
After TKO Tread School in May 2019, we were really starting to get our boots planted in building more volunteer support in the Zigzag Ranger District. In early 2019, a women’s hiking group from Portland reported that a loop trail off the east end of the Salmon River Trail (just south of Trillium Lake) was nearly impassable from the encroaching Rhododendron. We kicked things off with their group in late June 2019 and then have followed up with a half dozen trail parties along this beautiful trail. Get ready for more in the years to come.
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.