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Statewide World Class Trails Network Research

September 22, 2023

Travel Oregon contracted a study to conduct thirty-two interviews via phone and in-person conversations. Attempts were made to get broad geographic perspective as well as capture perspectives from a variety of trail user groups, new and established trail efforts, land managers, volunteers, and professionals. Individuals were given a summary of the goals of the project and asked open-ended questions. The overarching research question was: “What hurdles does Oregon face in building and maintaining a world class network of trails, and how could we work together to address those hurdles?”

This project set out to accomplish three goals: 1. Discover what Oregon can learn from peers in other states who are successfully collaborating to build and maintain an inspiring system of trails. 2. Learn from trail advocates and volunteers, land managers, and trail planners across Oregon about the hurdles they face. 3. Identify how we can best work together to address those hurdles to build and maintain a world class network of trails.

Excerpts where TKO was named and ultimate identified as a likely source to overcome hurdles:

  • Many towns and many specific trails have their own groups that put in consistent volunteer hours in reoccurring work parties. Trailkeepers of Oregon, though currently made up of a core group of about 25 volunteers, has a statewide mission and vision to someday have the capacity to play a volunteer coordination and advocacy role for trails statewide.” page 14
  • Trailkeepers of Oregon (TKO) is a group that has a strategic vision to grow into a staffed organization coordinating volunteers, advocating for hiking trails, and filling in gaps in trail stewardship statewide. Seed funding to assist TKO in growing their organization to the next level could help address the maintenance challenges that are threatening the closure of hiking trails across the state. Exploration should also be made as to if TKO or a statewide coalition could best serve as an umbrella organization for newly forming trail groups with aligned, but more-focused missions.” page 25
  • Next Steps in 2017: Invest seed funding in Trailkeepers of Oregon so that they may hire their first staff person to take on further development and statewide coordination functions.” page 25

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