Spring has officially sprung in the Cascades and it's time to stop looking mournfully at those snowshoes and Nordic skis, dust off your hiking boots, and hit the trail. As we give thanks for seasonally appropriate activities, let's consider for a moment how fortunate we are to live in this majestic place. Should this reflection move you toward stewardship, two organizations are offering vacation-worthy volunteer opportunities.
Based in Bend and dedicated to protecting and restoring Oregon's arid wonderlands, ONDA offers amazing volunteer opportunities for its members. Case in point, tomorrow's Hart Mountain Sage-Grouse Lek Monitoring trip which has members camping in the Great Basin, rising before dawn and monitoring the spectacular mating dance of the vulnerable Greater sage-grouse. Volunteer members also enjoy outfitted excursions such as April's Owyhee Wild and Scenic River Float for a super reasonable price. Memberships begin at as little as $20 for students. See more at ONDA.org
The PCT sees over a thousand hikers a year and relies almost solely on volunteers to keep it up. To that end, the Pacific Crest Trail Association puts together a number of volunteer trail crews a year. They also provide a number of Trails Skills College sessions, where volunteers can receive free CPR, first aid, chainsawand crosscut saw training and certifications. Meals and camping are also included free of charge for skills students. All that is asked in return is a commitment to using those newly developed skills on the trail in the future. There are a number of upcoming skills courses close to Bend in the near future. Check out the PCTA volunteer page at PCTA.org.