Cascade Locks Trail School Recap

Written by Nancy Stone, Education & Sustainability Director ([email protected])

The Trail Sustainability Institute (TSI) travels 6-7 months out of the year, holding Trail Schools at different trail systems within 60 miles of the Portland area. Each location boasts different ecosystems, soil types, forests, and land management restrictions/guidelines. So although the Trail School curriculum is consistent, oftentimes, the approach will vary based on each location’s unique makeup.

For example, creating drainage on a trail that is on a hillside in a dense tree-canopied forest will prove to be easier than creating drainage on a trail that runs through a flat, grassy lowland. Both trails need to shed water, but the method that we use to accomplish this will most definitely look different. This was one situation that we came across on the Easy Climb trails just outside of Cascade Locks on Sunday, April 2nd. 

One of the joys of trail building and maintenance is dreaming up solutions and solving problems creatively, while oftentimes utilizing the resources that surround you. In this case, identifying gravel-sized rocks alongside the river and then dispersing it up and down the trail. This helps prevent the trail from becoming muddy, which encourages trail users to stay on the trail rather than walking and riding around wet spots, which inadvertently widens the trail, creating more impact on the surrounding area. 

As a rare treat in Trail School, half of the participants went over basic tabletop design, as well as what to consider when maintaining lips, landings, and exits of small to medium-sized jumps. Their efforts were cut short by a classic springtime downpour with a little snow mixed in for fun. Oh, the joys of trail work in the PNW.

This Trail School at Cascade Locks concludes this season’s monthly series for the Trail Sustainability Institute. If you are interested in participating, you can catch us next Fall at a trail system near you! 

A special thanks to our dedicated Trail School Instructors: Bob Carey, Addison Wardwell, Paul Hobson & Nancy Stone. Photos by Ted Dodd.