Dear Ambassadors, Congratulations on the 2020 season! With challenges seemingly around every corner, it was certainly not an easy road, but we still accomplished some big things. I am so grateful for each and everyone of you who…
By Loren Payne
Spring is quickly approaching! That means before we know it, Trailkeepers of Oregon will be kicking off another Trail Ambassador season. Through partnerships with the U.S. Forest Service, Oregon State Parks, the Mt. Hood – Columbia River Gorge Tourism Alliance, The Nature Conservancy, and Friends of the Columbia River Gorge, Trail Ambassadors will take to trails beginning April 22nd to engage with trail users across the state. We are always looking to grow our team – if you’ve been looking to give back to the trails you love, we want you on board!
Trail Ambassadors support a critical part of TKO’s mission – advocating for Oregon’s trails and positive hiking experiences through outreach and education. Volunteer Trail Ambassadors are stationed at popular trails throughout peak hiking season, acting as a friendly face and resource for trail users. They answer hiking and destination related questions, promote responsible stewardship ethics, communicate trail conditions and alternative hike information, as well as direct folks to resources such as OregonHikers.org, Ready, Set, GOrge, and land manager and partner websites.
Serving as a Trail Ambassador is the perfect opportunity for folks of all backgrounds and abilities who want to give back to trails. These opportunities offer a engagement-centered volunteer experience all while getting to enjoy beautiful natural areas. All it takes to become a Trail Ambassador is the completion of a short series of online training videos and attending a half day training hike.
Long-time volunteer Trail Ambassador, Steve, says, “Joan and I enjoy sharing our knowledge of the Gorge with folks so that they can appreciate it more. We love sharing information about the trails, historic highway, wildflowers and geology.” He continues, “For us, the most important thing is being able to interact with lots of different people, and helping them to get more involved with preserving the Gorge and perhaps even doing trail maintenance work with TKO.”
This year’s trails include (but aren’t limited to):
- Mount Hood: Ramona Falls, Mirror Lake, and Timberline Lodge
- Columbia River Gorge: Latourell Falls, Wahclella Falls, Eagle Creek, Starvation Creek State Park, Mosier Plateau, and Rowena Crest
- North Coast: Cape Kiwanda, Short Sands at Oswald West State Park, Ecola State Park, Cascade Head, and Hug Point
- South Coast: Natural Bridges, Harris Beach, Shore Acres, and Sunset Bay
As if giving back and time spent on beautiful trails isn’t convincing enough, we are also offering incentive prizes for our volunteers who go above and beyond for trails! The first 15 Ambassadors who bring a friend into the program will receive either 2 passes to the Bigfoot Museum or a surprise gift card to a Gorge restaurant. And that’s not all! The first Ambassador to volunteer at all of our Gorge Trails will receive kayak rentals for 2 at Estacada Lake with Clackamas River Outfitters, and the first Ambassador to volunteer at all of our Gorge AND Mount Hood trails will receive an e-bike tour with Sol Rides!
Interested in volunteering but not sure exactly what to expect? You are welcome to join us on a training hike! See our upcoming Trail Ambassador events here.
For more about the program and to take the training, explore our Trail Ambassadors webpage. For specific questions and inquiries, please contact our Engagement Coordinator, Loren, at firstname.lastname@example.org.