Training Trail Builders for Oregon’s Trails
Field sites in Santiam Canyon/corridor, staying at Camp Taloali outside of Stayton, OR
TKO has been engaging communities in trail restoration in the Eagle Creek fire-affected area of the Columbia River Gorge since 2018 and now have been working in a number of areas damaged by the historic 2020 Labor Day fires. Guided by that experience, we are leveraging the power of partnership to rebuild trails after a wildfire and restore 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 – get ready to build some trails!
We’ve incorporated a number of safety measures to assess our risk tolerance and methodically solve trail problems when working in fire-affected areas. 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:
- 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.
- 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.