Oregon Trails Fund
The Oregon Trails Fund (OTF) is a Travel Oregon program, developed and funded in partnership with the U.S Forest Service (USFS) , that aims to bolster Oregon’s competitive advantage as a world-class outdoor recreation destination and provide exceptional trail experiences.
In 2023, Travel Oregon awarded $438,977 in Oregon Trails Funds* to increase capacity of Oregon trail organizations to support stewardship projects (regenerate, restore, maintain, develop) on new or existing USFS trails, and/or provide volunteer and trail ambassador programming to help provide enjoyable trail experiences for a diversity of visitors and recreation users. *Funds are sourced from USFS and Travel Oregon’s Destination Development team and are separate from Travel Oregon’s Competitive Grant Program.
The following eleven organizations, listed by Oregon tourism region, received funds for the following projects. Projects will be completed by September 30, 2024. Additional information on the process is available here.
Mt. Hood/Gorge Region – total awarded: $38,491 (Mt. Hood National Forest)
- AntFarm, Inc. – Grant for capacity to hire paid AntFarm YouthCore Trail Crew Leads and Youth Staff and purchasing of tools/supplies to execute volunteer recruitment, training and management to provide trail restoration on 20-30 miles of fire-damaged trail – addressing approx. 60 drainage features, clearing drain dips, water bars and ditches, installing new ones, checking dams and water flow areas, and brushing back trail.
Willamette Valley Region – Total awarded: $79,435 (Willamette National Forest)
- Cascade Volunteers – Grant for capacity (and tools/supplies) to fund staff to recruit, train and manage volunteers to restore the Santiam Wagon Trail, as it is a valued treasure and is listed on National Register of Historic Places. Also, for capacity to develop curriculum and recruit, train, and manage trailhead ambassadors that will post at key trailheads during peak summer hiking season.
- Oakridge Trails Alliance – Grant for staff capacity (and tools/supplies) to increase staff capacity, skills and certifications to recruit, train, manage and retain volunteers for trail maintenance stewardship activities on fire-affected, high-use trails.
Central Oregon Region – Total awarded: $80,209 (Deschutes National Forest, Ochoco National Forest, Crooked River Grasslands)
- Discover Your Northwest, DBA Discover Your Forest – Grant for paid staff capacity and provided critical tools/supplies to recruit, train and manage volunteers in high-use and high-fire-risk areas to greatly increase community engagement efforts to implement historic fire risk reduction work successfully. The need for increased community and visitor messaging around responsible recreation and wildfire risk reduction work cannot be overstated. Face-to-face interactions with trained Forest Stewards in the field will make users feel welcome and safe and create opportunities to educate visitors on various topics.
- Discover Your Northwest, DBA Public Land Stewards – Grant to purchase critical tools, personal protective equipment, and communications and safety supplies to support our large-scale public land volunteer clean ups. Clean-ups consist of 20-300 volunteers depending on the location and severity of the project – sites vary from cleaning public dumping, abandoned campsites, and stolen or abandoned vehicles, which are huge fire risks.
- Oregon Equestrian Trails – Grant for capacity for hired Northwest Your Corps to work with trail volunteers to restore a five-mile section of the Metolius-Windigo Trail, as has become severely overgrown with ceanothus in wake of B&B Fire. Together, we can reopen the trail and widen the trail corridor, giving volunteers a fighting chance to keep the trail open in the future. Also, used for trail tools and to support trail management.
- Sisters Trails Alliance – Grant for staff capacity – a new position that will recruit, train, and manage a robust cadre of volunteers who perform trail work and oversee a Student Trail Ambassador program; 6-10 students trained, and compensated, to educate trail users about sustainable recreation, environmental trail stewardship and reducing user-impact and multi-user conflict. Also, for volunteer tools/supplies.
Eastern Oregon Region – Total awarded: $154,292 (Umatilla National Forest, North Fork Umatilla River Wilderness, Wallowa-Whitman National Forest, Malheur National Forest)
- Greater Hells Canyon Council – Grant for paid staff/contracted capacity (and tools/supplies) to greatly increase staff capacity, skills and certifications to recruit, train, manage and retain volunteers and hire youth/indigenous crews for trail maintenance and to engage in trail stewardship activities.
- Wallowa Mountains Hells Canyon Trails Association – Grant for staff capacity (and tools/supplies) to host/manage volunteers to steward 80+ miles trails in Eagle Cap and Hells Canyon wilderness areas, including install tread improvement structures (e.g. check dams, water bars, turnpikes) to reduce soil erosion and stream sedimentation; repair and maintain at least one bridge; and coordinate with existing youth programs to provide skills training to youth while meeting conservation objectives.
Southern Oregon Region – Total awarded: $41,550 (Umpqua National Forest)
- National Forest Foundation – Grant for staff/contracted capacity (and tools/supplies) to increase staff capacity to develop trail ambassador-type programming, and recruit, train, manage and retain volunteers and hire crews for trail maintenance and to engage in trail stewardship activities.
Oregon Coast Region – Total awarded: $45,000 (Rogue River Siskiyou National Forest)
- Wild Rivers Coast Mountain Bicycling Association – Grant or staff capacity and hired crews (and tools/supplies) to host/manage volunteer trail events to reopen Lawson Creek Trail and improve Pine Grove Trail, which provide integral connections between the rough front country near the community of Agness and deep backcountry wilderness trails within the Gold Beach Ranger District.