By Loren Payne Trailkeepers of Oregon volunteer Trail Ambassadors had another impactful season engaging with trail users across Oregon! Outdoor recreation and visitation to trails was high throughout the 2023 season, and Trail Ambassadors played a crucial role…
Oregon’s north coast draws countless visitors from near and far seeking unique experiences, many of them hitting the trails for a hike they’ll never forget. From Astoria to Pacific City, Trailkeepers of Oregon volunteer trail crews play a vital role in ensuring these trails remain safe, accessible, and fun for people of all backgrounds and abilities!
This week, November 6th to 12th, we are highlighting and celebrating the efforts TKO volunteers have made across Oregon’s north and central coast through our Legacy Builders campaign! With 56,771 feet (that’s nearly 11 miles!) of north coast trails maintained over a whopping 1,656 hours, there is certainly plenty to talk about.
From new trail building and rerouting to clearing downed trees and vegetation, each event makes a tangible difference in the hiking experience. Not only does this work benefit hikers, it helps to protect sensitive environments by allowing folks to remain on trail and supports recreation economies in coastal communities. One returning volunteer, Ingrid H., says “[TKO volunteers] have become a great team. We have done log outs, tread work, drainage [improvements], and more…they have all been fun and rewarding. The volunteers have all been hard working people and friendly…most have come back a few times, some I only see once. But I am looking forward to next season.”
Though 64 event days are too many to recount here, there are some standout projects that we want to highlight. One such project on the Cascade Head Preserve came as the result of a wonderful partnership with The Nature Conservancy. Working jointly, our two organizations rerouted a portion of the iconic Cascade Head Trail that had become a danger to hikers and the surrounding grasslands. A similar effort occurred at Ecola State Park to address failing portions of the Crescent Beach Trail. Carl Bohacek, TKO’s North Coast Stewardship Coordinator, remembers the project: “Anyone who had tried to hike the Crescent Beach Trail at Ecola State Park in spring of 2023 will doubtlessly remember the section of trail less than a mile in where the tread disappeared completely. Now the trail will be safe and accessible to hikers through all seasons for years to come!”
Other efforts on the north coast have focused on maintaining existing stretches of trail. The trail at Cape Meares Beach, well known for its lighthouse and “octopus tree”, underwent many critical improvements. The repair of a washed out trail section, the spreading of gravel to mediate muddy spots, and the decommissioning of a user trail all contributed to making this once-neglected trail a destination for visitors. At Drift Creek Falls, crews removed countless logs, creating passage to a breathtaking 75 foot waterfall for visitors. Combined with other events throughout the year, TKO volunteers removed a total of 119 logs from north coast trails!
Stewarding these spectacular places takes a village. Volunteers and partner agencies work tirelessly to protect these lands for generations to come, and they need your support. As a small nonprofit, TKO relies on donations from people like you to continue our efforts. Donate to our Legacy Builders fundraising campaign today to contribute to the legacy of north coast trails (and be entered into an awesome raffle for 1 of 3 prize packs from Pelican Brewing!)
TKO would like to thank Oregon State Parks, the U.S. Forest Service, The Nature Conservancy, Travel Oregon, and the Oregon Coast Visitors Association for their logistic and monetary support of TKO’s service to stewarding Oregon’s trails.