DTC Trail Crew

Of all the things DTC does, the Trail Crew Program is one of our crowning achievements to date.

Trail crew applications are now closed.

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Check out the DTC Trail Crew feature on Central Oregon Daily!

Prior to DTC being formed, this was the vision of what a stakeholder group could bring to the table: more on-the-ground resources to reduce the maintenance backlog on the Deschutes NF and ultimately support the long-term sustainability of our trail network.

This is a concept that exists elsewhere but isn’t super common. There’s the Washington Trails Association (WTA), the Appalachian Mountain Club in the Northeast, and others that have been wildly successful in funding, administering, and managing paid trail crews. These crews are a great resource and add a lot of capacity to the relative scarcity of land management agency crews. Many land management agencies’ trails budgets remain flat ; meanwhile, increasing trail use, extreme weather events, wildfires, etc. are creating more impacts.

An independent trail crew allows more opportunities for community and stakeholder investment in our trails – either through donations, being part of a trail-user group organization that collaborates with the hosting organization, giving input to trails projects, etc. in a way that’s not really possible when working directly with land management agencies.

In addition to professional agency (FS, BLM, NPS) trail crews, there are also volunteer trail crews that get a ton of work done that land management agency crews don’t have the capacity to take on. Volunteer crews are an incredible resource and can be quite skilled at what they do; the work done by these volunteers is essential in maintaining our trails.

Professional Trail crews often fill a different niche than volunteer crews in a few ways: Capacity- a dedicated crew working 40 hours/week for 5 months, tools and equipment, may have different skill sets cultivated over time, have time to get to more remote locations, may have more time to access specialized training etc.

Professional crews typically:

•Work 10-hour days, 4 days a week;

•Take on bigger projects and complete them in a shorter time frame;

•Get to more remote parts of the trail network and camp out if needed;

•Have access to specialized training, and a ton of on the job training!

•Have access to specialized equipment – such as grip hoists, rock drills, etc.

·Using chainsaws and cross-cut saws to remove downed trees from trails – including in remote Wilderness locations (crosscut saw use only)

·Drainage improvements and brushing on trails

·Bridge projects, installation and improvements to accessibility.

·Trail construction, reconstruction, and rerouting segments of trail to a new, more suitable location, or re-establishing trail tread after a fire

· Building constructed trail features such as waterbars, retaining walls, or log/rock steps

·Riparian zone rehabilitation, bank stabilization and hardening access points.

·Installation of fencing, trail signage, snow ladders and more.

·Working with DTC partner organizations and their volunteers to help them meet the trail communities needs.

·Work closely with the USFS in a coordinated effort to ensure deferred maintenance and new projects are completed in a timely professional manner.

  • We’re hiring for 2024 season!
    • Season Start & End Dates of 5/6/24 – 10/15/24 (weather permitting)
    • Competitive Wages ranging from $18-$20 / hour for Crew Members and $22-$24 / hour for Crew Lead position based on experience.
    • Resumes and References are required as part of the application process and required to be submitted by the end of February 20
  • Job Description (All):
    • Performing a variety of trail maintenance and project work throughout the Central Oregon trail network,
    • DTC Trail Crew will work independently as well as with partnering organizations and agencies taking
    • on a variety of trail maintenance projects. Trail work is arduous, requires endurance and the ability to
    • work in a variety of conditions and
    • environments, and work closely with other crew members and volunteers. Tasks range from hiking up to
    • 12 miles/day while performing basic maintenance tasks such as logging out trails, cleaning drainage and
    • brushing to project work such as bridge construction, constructing trail features, rehabilitating usercreated trails, and building new trail systems. The work schedule is Mon – Thurs 7am – 5:30pm with
    • occasional overnight hitches for multiple nights when working on remote projects. The DTC Trail Crew will
    • comprise of at minimum 3 crew members, 1 crew leader, and 1 Trails Coordinator. DTC crew members
    • will be formally supervised by DTC staff and employed by Discover Your Northwest, DTC’s fiscal sponsor.
  • Job Description (Crew Leader):
    • In addition to the tasks described above, the crew leader will be responsible for providing daily leadership
    • to the trail crew; managing travel and project logistics to work site; giving on-site support and developing
    • technical skills; promoting workplace safety; and modeling
    • and contributing to a fun, safe, and productive work environment. The crew leader will work closely with
    • the Trails Coordinator to schedule daily tasks and project work, discuss tool and skill needs, and address
    • any emerging needs or issues.
    • Send all pertinent materials to Jason Whittaker at: jason@deschutestrailscoalition.org

The 2023 trail crew season was DTC’s first season as an independently managed, 5-person trails crew. In short, it was a success! We hired 4 excellent people to be part of our inaugural trail crew and a year-round Trails Coordinator to lead the crew from May to October.

The Crew got a ton of work done across the Deschutes Natinoal Forest (DNF) while seeing new terrain, enjoying special relationshps built only by working side-by-side together as a crew, getting to work with DTC partners and organizations and the DNF Trail Crew.

We spent the season logging out dead trees fallen across the trail, brushing cleaning drainages, project work like improving fords, installing fences, repairing bridges and installing culverts to name a few.

We were also able to get out a multi-day crosscutting hitch and cleared over 200 logs from trails in a remote part of the Three Sisters Wilderness.

Leadership opportunities were given to all that wanted them including leading specific trail work projects or work parties.

We are so excited for the 2024 season and what it will be able to do for the Central Oregon outdoors community and for me professionally. – Jason Whittaker, Trail Crew Coordinator

Partners We Work With

We work with a ton of awesome organizations in Central Oregon and are always looking for additional opportunities to better serve the trails community. If you or your organization is interested in collaboration please contact Jason at: jason@deschutestrailscoalition.org

● Deschutes National Forest

● Oregon Equestrian Trails

● Central Oregon Trails Alliance

● Trail Keepers of Oregon

● Central Oregon Nordic Club

● Sawyers With Attitude To Spare

● Sisters Trails Alliance

● Friends of the Metolius

● Youth Conservation Corps

● Heart of Oregon Corps