By Tom Kloster, Board Member, Trailkeepers of Oregon Have you hiked the Old Vista Ridge Trail #626A to Owl Point? This historic route was unofficially reopened by volunteers in 2007 after decades of neglect, and has since become a…
by Loren Payne
Throughout 2022, TKO volunteer crews have been caring for the trail systems on Oregon’s beautiful North Coast. Trails were maintained, existing trails were extended, and closed trails were reopened to the public for the first time in years!
Just north of Manzanita, encompassing 2,484 acres of coastal wonderland, sits Oswald West State Park. Cape Falcon and Neahkahnie Mountain are two remarkable headlands within the park that offer great hiking opportunities and draw visitors from around the country. One of these trails, the Neahkahnie Mountain Trail, was heavily damaged in the 2020 Labor Day windstorm and had its northern section closed for over two years. Across a dozen trail parties and 674 hours of volunteer time, TKO crews worked to remove downed trees, improve tread, and wrangle ever-growing vegetation. Combined with the efforts of numerous partner agencies the Neahkahnie Mountain Trail was reopened for trail users in early October, 2022!
But the excitement doesn’t stop there! Just a bit further south down the coast, the North Trail at Cape Lookout State Park was similarly impacted by the 2020 windstorm. This trail acts as an important connection for the Oregon Coast Trail and takes users through the lush coastal forest to panoramic views of the Pacific Ocean. Another ten TKO trail parties in 2022 (and 14 in previous years) allowed volunteers to get plenty of practice with crosscut saws as downed trees were cleared from the trail.
Thanks to these efforts and those of partner organizations, the trail was opened just days after the Neahkahnie Mountain Trail! This fan favorite trail is already seeing countless visitors, new and returning. Even more, bringing a section of the OCT back online is an incredible step towards creating the continuous OCT route many have been dreaming of.
The stories of these trails are great examples of the power of cross-agency collaboration, and specifically the importance of volunteer efforts to trail stewardship. These trails are maintained by and for the people who love them, and we are so proud to cultivate incredible volunteer experiences that lead to such a tangible benefit to trail users.
Thank you to the park rangers, the Northwest Youth Corps, the South Fork Forest Camp Crew, contractors, and all of our TKO volunteers who contributed to the reopening of these trails. You are making a difference!
TKO’s efforts on the coast and across Oregon are only possible because of our generous trail-loving donors. By making a gift to TKO today, you can join them in helping to make Oregon’s trail legacy strong on the coast and across the state.
Keep an eye out on our events calendar for upcoming stewardship events on the North Coast. We hope to see you on the trails soon!