Columbia Cascades Trail Skills College

Volunteers at the 2018 Columbia Cascades Trail Skills College learn to build turnpikes and work with packers and pack stock. Photo by Les Taylor.

2019 Columbia Cascades Trail Skills College

You’re invited! The Columbia Cascades Trail Skills College is a free weekend event for volunteers to learn about trail maintenance and stewardship. Beginners and experts alike can benefit from Trail Skills College courses like Drainage Design & Drain Dips, Tread Re-Construction, Crew Leadership and more.

Trail Skills College is offered free of charge in an effort to inspire citizen stewardship of trails. In exchange for attending the training, we encourage you to volunteer at least 16 hours of work on trail projects in the coming year.

The 2019 Columbia Cascades Trail Skills College is possible thanks to the U.S. Forest Service, Oregon State ParksPCTA’s Mount Hood Chapter, Washington Trails Association, Trailkeepers of Oregon, Backcountry Horsemen of Oregon, Backcountry Horsemen of Washington, and the Port of Cascade Locks.

When is it?

April 12-14, 2019

Where is it?

Port of Cascade Locks, Oregon

Are meals and lodging provided?

Free camping is available to all participants on Friday and Saturday. Tent camping is available on Thunder Island and there are a limited number of RV spaces in the Port. Meals will be provided at no cost starting with dinner on Friday and ending with lunch on Sunday.

What’s the fitness level of Trail Skills College?

The fitness level will vary depending on the classes you select during registration. However, all participants should be prepared to hike a minimum of 1-2 miles while carrying personal gear and tools. Participants should also be prepared for the hands on learning opportunities in many of these classes, resulting in 6-8 hours of active trail maintenance per day.

What classes are being offered?

Detailed descriptions of all the courses are available here.

Friday, April 12

First Aid and CPR

103 Basic Saw Crew Training

204 Cooking and Camping with the Crew

206 New Trail Construction

207 Trail Decommissioning and Wildland Restoration

398 Bridge Construction

398 Gabions

Saturday, April 13

First Aid and CPR

Intro to Trail Maintenance Day One (half-day, afternoon)

  • Intro to Trail Maintenance will cover curriculum from course numbers 100-102
  • Intro to Trail Maintenance is a two day class: a half-day (afternoon) on Saturday, and a full day on Sunday

104 Intro to Chainsaw

107 Hand Tool Field Maintenance (half-day, morning)

300 Rock Retaining Walls

304 Crew Leadership: Managing Volunteers

306 Working with Packers and Packstock

398 Turnpikes

398 Mechanical Advantage (rope puller, grip hoist basics)

Sunday, April 14

Intro to Trail Maintenance Day Two

201 Drainage Design and Drain Dips

205 Tread Reconstruction

297 Chainsaw Practicum

  • Students must have current First Aid & CPR certifications

300 Rock Retaining Walls

398 Bridge Construction

398 Emergency Response

Saw Training and Certification

For those interested in learning more about crosscut or chainsaw work, the following introductory courses will be offered at Trail Skills College as they are pre-requisites for saw certification classes:

First Aid and CPR

103 Basic Saw Crew Training

104 Intro to Chainsaw

297 Chainsaw Practicum

Chainsaw and crosscut certification courses will be offered April 26-28 at Wind River. More details, including registration instructions, are available here.

How do I register?

Online registration was open through March 22. Registration is now closed.

Can’t wait?

Don’t forget, you can learn new trail maintenance skills by volunteering on a PCTA trail crew any time. Most crews do not require any previous trail maintenance experience. Knowledgeable and experienced crew leaders are on site to teach you the necessary skills.  Visit the online project schedule and Mt. Hood Chapter Eventbrite to find trail projects near you.

If you have questions about Trail Skills College, contact PCTA’s Volunteer Program at 916-285-1838 or [email protected].

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