Columbia Cascades Trail Skills College

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Volunteer students and instructors at the 2016 Columbia Cascades Trail Skills College. Photo by Gray Feather Photography.

Columbia Cascades Trail Skills College

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

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 2017 Columbia Cascades Trail Skills College is possible thanks to the U.S. Forest Service, PCTA’s Mt. Hood Chapter, Washington Trails Association, Trailkeepers of Oregon, Backcountry Horsemen of Oregon, Backcountry Horsemen of Washington,  Mount St. Helens Institute and Hydro Flask.

When is it?

April 28 – April 30, 2017

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 28

  • First Aid & CPR
  • 201 Drainage Design & Drain Dips
  • 398 Gabions
  • 398 Intro to Wood Structure Techniques
  • 400 Crew Leadership: Project Management
  • 204 Cooking and Camping with the Crew
  • 103 Basic Saw Crew Training

Saturday, April 29

  • Intro to Trail Maintenance – Day 1
  • 300 Rock Work
  • 104 Intro to Chainsaw
  • First Aid & CPR
  • 398 Stairs Construction
  • 306 Working with Packers and Packstock
  • 205 Tread Re-Construction
  • 101 Brushing and Scouting

Sunday, April 30

  • Intro to Trail Maintenance – Day 2
  • 304 Crew Leadership: Managing a Crew
  • 203 Waterbars & Checks
  • 398 Turnpike Construction
  • 398 Stairs Construction
  • 297 Chainsaw Practicum
  • 207 Wildland Restoration

Saw Training and Certification

There won’t be any saw certification classes at this Trail Skills College. Those interested in saw certification should consider signing up for pre-requisites:

  • First Aid & CPR (Friday, Saturday)
  • 103 Basic Saw Crew Training (Friday)
  • 104 Intro to Chainsaw (Saturday)
  • 297 Chainsaw Practicum (Sunday)

Chainsaw and crosscut training and certification will be available the following weekend, May 5-7, during the Wind River Saw Training weekend.

Register now for Wind River Saw Training weekend.

How do I register?

Registration is closed.

Follow along

Don’t forget to follow the event on social media.

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 website to find trail projects near you.

If you have questions about Trail Skills College, contact the Volunteer Programs Assistant at 916-285-1838 or [email protected].

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Photo by: Nathaniel Middleton