Running and hiking the scenic trails of Central Oregon is popular with community members and visitors. With the flowing Deschutes River, magnificent rock formations and ever-changing nature, Smith Rock is a state park in Oregon that sees many recreators over the course of the year. And with many visitors, comes trail damage and user-made trails.
Trailkeepers and Go Beyond Racing are hosting a trail party event on Nov. 25 at 10am to repair the west end of Misery Ridge, at the junction of River Trail and Mesa Verde trail.
Curtis Smith is a crew leader, trainer and project manager with Oregon Trailkeepers and lives in Redmond. He has been involved with volunteer trail work for over 15 years. Smith is the crew leader for this trail party and will direct attendees on repair work. Attendees will do rock work to repair and block off the user-made trails and improve the general area. User-made trails are made by hikers/runners that go off path.
"If three people walk over a natural area in Central Oregon, it takes 10 years for that damage to naturally heal," Smith said.
Almost all trail maintenance is done by volunteers, according to Smith. With hundreds of miles of trails around Oregon, there are very few paid employees that can make repairs, and that's why Oregon Trailkeepers rely on volunteers to keep the trails clean, safe and in good shape.
"We really encourage people to volunteer," Smith said. "If you're a hiker, we suggest at least once a year, go out and help maintain trails."
To stay updated with trail maintenance parties, visit trailkeepersoforegon.org.
Smith Rock Trail Party
Friday, Nov. 25, 10am
Smith Rock State Park