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.

2020 Columbia Cascades Trail Skills College

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 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 2020 Columbia Cascades Trail Skills College is possible thanks to the U.S. Forest Service, Osprey, PCTA’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?

Out of deep concern for the health and safety of our PCT community and beyond, and in recognition of the continuing spread of COVID-19, the PCTA made the difficult decision to immediately cancel and/or postpone all in-person PCTA-related events until May 1, at which time we will reevaluate the circumstances and update our community then.

Where is it?

Port of Cascade Locks, Oregon

Are meals and lodging provided?

Free camping is available to participants on Friday and Saturday. Tent camping is available on Thunder Island and there are a limited number of RV spaces in the Port. (Participants will have first come-first serve access to the RV spaces that are reserved for the event.) 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?

Before postponing the event, the following classes were planned:

Friday:

First Aid/CPR

103 Basic Saw Crew Training

201 Drainage Design and Drain Dips

207 Trail Decommissioning and Wildland Restoration

300 Rock Retaining Walls

398 Gabions

398 Mechanical Advantage (Rope Puller, Grip Hoist Basics)

Saturday:

First Aid/CPR

Intro to Trail Maintenance Day One (Half-Day, Afternoon)

  • This course will cover curriculum from PCTA’s 100, 101 and 102 courses

107 Hand Tool Field Maintenance (Half-Day, Morning)

298 Woodbuilding Techniques

304 Crew Leadership: Managing Volunteers

306 Working with Packers and Packstock

398 Turnpikes

Sunday:

101-102 Intro to Trail Maintenance Day Two (Full Day)

  • This course will continue covering curriculum from PCTA’s 100, 101 and 102 courses

201 Drainage Design and Drain Dips

204 Cooking and Camping with the Crew

205 Tread Reconstruction

300 Rock Retaining Walls

398 Emergency Response

Can’t wait?

Don’t forget, you can learn new trail maintenance skills by volunteering on a PCTA trail crew any time. Most crews don’t require any previous trail maintenance experience. Knowledgeable and experienced crew leaders are on site to teach you the necessary skills.  Visit PCTA’s online schedule and the local Mount Hood Chapter’s 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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