TKO Tread School – Fire Recovery Edition

Training Trail Builders for Oregon’s Trails

TKO has been engaging communities in trail restoration in the Eagle Creek fire-affected area of the Columbia River Gorge since 2018. Guided by that experience, we are confident in the power of partnership to rebuild trails and our connection to Oregon’s special places. TKO Crew Leaders, as well as partner and agency instructors, will 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!

We aspire to build and maintain trails sustainably and to the specifications set by the land manager’s trail standards. Wildfire-affected or not, whenever we start scouting trails throughout any local, state, or federal lands, we use our “trail eyes” — something you can learn about HERE. With fire-affected areas it’s just a little more complex, with a combination of trail problems that tend to fall into two categories: 

  1. First, there’s damage caused by the wildfire itself. The range and complexity of trail problems correlate to the low, medium, and high burn severities. Check out the TKO Burn Area Safety Checklist for more on that.
  2. The second category of trail problems is all too familiar to us, systemic issues that develop over decades due to trail design flaws, overuse, and deferred maintenance. While these trails are closed due to fire damage and our volunteers are at the ready, we have an opportunity to work with our land managers partners to create an even better trail system!

We are in a unique opportunity to be efficient and also thorough – performing service that could address each of these categories of damage. While we realize that trails may open once we get the fire-caused hazards resolved, trail closures present a once-in-a-lifetime chance to bring trails “back to spec” or even to make them “better than ever” giving our communities more sustainable, accessible, and enjoyable trails to explore.

Saturday morning we set the scene, discovering our "trail eyes" at Camp Arrah Wanna. Photo by Claudio Berstein, TKO crew leader.
Hosted at the CCC-era Camp Arrah Wanna, 85 participants joined us for a weekend full of trail and relationship building! Photo by Claudio Berstein, TKO crew leader.
Participants can choose a different trail to experience, getting out on trails both Saturday and Sunday. Photo by TKO volunteers.
Back at camp we talk tool care at TKO's Tread School 2018. Photo by Claudio Berstein, TKO crew leader.


  • Two sessions on the trail building topics of your choice (see session overview below)
  • Meals from Friday dinner through Sunday lunch (vegetarian/vegan/gluten free options available)
  • Lodging – you have the option of bunking in a shared room in the main lodge (bring your own bedding) or tent camping (bring your own tent and camping gear)
  • Lodging in a private cabin is available at additional cost. Please select this option in addition to your regular volunteer ticket when you register.
  • If you’d like to rent a 5-8 person cabin, please contact


  • The importance of safety while performing trail stewardship
  • An introduction to understanding hillside hydrology and how trails work
  • Using your “Trail Eyes” to accurately survey a trail corridor for logs, brushing, and tread needs.
  • Safe use of loppers and hand saws for effective lopping and sawing skills to protect trees and maximize efficiency
  • How to identify cupped tread and restore it to appropriate outslope by removing slough and berm
  • How to identify and clean drain dips and water bars effectively


  • Trail Assessment & Project Management
  • Drainage Design
  • Turnpike Prep & Install
  • Tread Reconstruction


  • Your own bedding if you’ll be staying in the bunk rooms OR tent/camping gear if you’re planning on camping
  • Clothes for the weather – long pants, think layers and rain gear!
  • Sturdy boots to protect your toes from sharp tools (tennis shoes are not allowed)
  • Work gloves – loaner gloves will be available
  • A day pack and a water bottle – minimum of 2 liters required









DAY 1 – MAY 17th, 5PM:

  • Arrival
  • Set-up camp
  • Welcome and Orientation
  • Dinner & Mt Hood National Forest presentation
  • Registration for classes

DAY 2 – MAY 18th, ALL DAY:

  • Breakfast and morning info session
  • Carpool to stewardship sites
  • Sessions and work in the field
  • Return to basecamp for hot dinner, activities and camaraderie

DAY 3, MAY 19th, 3/4 DAY:

  • Breakfast and morning info session
  • Carpool to stewardship sites
  • Sessions and work in the field
  • Return to basecamp to pack up and head home

Partners & Supporters

TKO’s mission is accomplished through thoughtful relationships with passionate partners and supporters.

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Want to Get Involved?

Send us a message to learn more about how you can help us advocate for Oregon’s trails. Or contact us at:

Trailkeepers of Oregon
P.O. Box 14814
Portland, Oregon 97293
(971) 206-4351

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