Trailkeepers of Oregon

Project needs: 

Brand Design
Website Design
Brand Messaging & Voice
Marketing Strategy and/or Digital Strategy
Postcards, Posters, and Banners
Social Media

Organization mission statement: Trailkeepers of Oregon (TKO) is a non-profit organization whose mission is to protect and enhance the Oregon hiking experience through advocacy, stewardship, outreach and education.

Are you a:: Organization

This organization or cause is a 501(c)3 non-profit: Yes

What community or cause does your organization serve?: Our organization was born out of the Portland Hikers Forum, a nerdy, online forum for hiking enthusiasts that was established in 2006, and has now grown to become the Oregon Hikers Forum, TKO’s free, online community for hikers. As the original forum grew, a user-built field guide was created and, and has now grown to become the Oregon Hikers Field Guide, a free online resource hosted by TKO and maintained by dozens of volunteer authors.

Early on, the many volunteers behind the original hiking forum and field guide saw that many of our trails are at risk and in need of active champions and engaged stewards to advocate for them: TKO was formed by the forum community in the fall of 2007 to address these concerns.

Today TKO organizes and leads trail advocacy efforts and volunteer trail maintenance activities. Currently, TKO activities are centered around the greater Portland region - through the Columbia River Gorge, Mt. Hood area and across to the northern Oregon Coast - but we are gradually expanding our footprint to serve the entire state. TKO also hosts the Oregon Hikers Forum and the Oregon Hikers Field Guide as part of our continuing outreach and education efforts.

TKO is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization committed to trail stewardship, advocacy and education in Oregon.

Project description: Visible Resistence Project needs - Build a campaign brand with digital/print collateral for TKO's $1 for Gorge Trails program that compliments the existing brand for the organization. (see overall program plan below)

Travel Oregon Small Grant Project Synopsis
Trailkeepers of Oregon
July 26, 2017

Trailkeepers of Oregon (TKO) is a non-profit organization whose mission is to protect and enhance the Oregon hiking experience through advocacy, stewardship, outreach and education. 

TKO seeks to develop and implement a $1 for Gorge Trails Program, establishing the groundwork for a sustainable funding stream to expand our capacity for trails development and maintenance priorities in the Columbia River Gorge. Through a Travel Oregon grant award, TKO staff will have a 6-month timeline to 1.) develop program materials, 2.) recruit 5-10 local businesses, and 3.) establish an annual interagency/partner summit on how the funding will contribute to a collective trails management strategy, awarding funds for specific priority projects yearly.

For local businesses that wish to participate, $1 for Gorge Trails Program collects one dollar through online reservations, resort fees and point of sales expenditures such hotel accommodations, food and beverage purchases, and rental fees at participating establishments in the Columbia River Gorge. As an “opt-out” program, visitors may choose not to participate and the contribution will be removed from their bill. These contributions will be collected by the local business and donated quarterly to TKO.

Our goal is to create a sustainable trails system in the Gorge, engaging a strong support of trails - educating visitors to shift from trail users to trail stewards. Envision a model for TKO that is similar to Washington Trails Association - strategic local and regional TKO staff supporting land managers and partners through stewardship programming. Allowing TKO to grow our capacity and implement a sustainable funding stream is a powerful first step. A $1 for Gorge Trails fund will enable TKO to establish a leadership role to enhance our connections to the exceptional natural, scenic, and recreational sites of the Gorge. 

TKO staff / partners / volunteers will: 
• Not conflict, but compliment - Review, partner with successful programs for $1 for Trails - Success from existing models - Travel Oregon Forever Fund, Deschutes Trails Collaboration, etc.;
• Develop integration processes, training and support for fundraising mechanisms;
• Research, assess strategic local businesses for participation;
• Develop and implement marketing strategies and promotional digital/print media efforts;
• Implement program, solicit/recruit local businesses; 
• Evaluate program viability and strategic growth for inclusion of Washington Trails Association within the Gorge and other regions across Oregon;
• Convene land managers and partners to initiate collaboration through a shared vision for trail maintenance and enhancement priorities.

Project model: 
Tactic, short term - Building TKO’s capacity for program development. Grant funds allow TKO staff person to lay foundation for a sustainable funding stream for trails and coordinate shared interests, across jurisdictional boundaries;
Product, long term - $1 for Trails Program - Gives TKO capacity to build capacity to fulfill Gorge trails system goals. Adding TKO staff and funding support for trail project priorities - training of agency/partner/volunteer for consistent standards in trail management;
Outcome, collaborative management and visitors obtain ethics of stewardship/social responsibility - A nonprofit partner for trails to support land managers and partners, enhancing experiences for visitors.
Leveraging through - Gorge Rural Tourism Studio action team support, Regional Destination Management Office collaboration

$1 for Trails, why under the fiscal house of TKO? Funds raised within the $1 for Gorge Trails Program will be dedicated to building TKO’s organizational capacity. Outcomes of building TKO’s capacity include different impact levels:
• Local Support - Establishing TKO staff and project funding for trail maintenance/enhancements, volunteer coordination, and community engagement. Establishing relationships with local volunteers to be trained and celebrated as long term stewards of their local trails. As donations reach budgeting milestones, TKO pledges to form matching grant programs for partnering organizations to apply for unique projects that enhance the Gorge trails experience;
• Regional Consensus- Convene a diverse audience of land managers, partners and stakeholders to encourage consensus and collaboration on trail management support;
• Statewide Collaboration - Establish an annual Oregon Statewide Trails Summit, supporting trail coalition efforts and engage in setting statewide priorities.

How will this creative work help you overcome challenges or meet specific goals?: A visual presence, both in local businesses who participate and the marketing we intend to perform in the digital space, will be critical in attracting support and long term viability of this fundraising campaign for Trailkeepers of Oregon. Our ability to develop the $1 for Gorge Trails program and facilitate its growth is covered through a small grant from Travel Oregon. We were going to start small for brand and marketing efforts, but with the substantial need for responding to damaged areas from the Eagle Creek Fire, we recognize we need professional help in brand and marketing to take this to the next level. If a brand is built to equal the passions of our organizational goals, now more than ever with respect to the recent fires in the Gorge, we can embrace the role in restoring our connections to the wonders of Oregon. Please help us, the returns will benefit all of us!

Project Timeline: 3-6 months

Current website: /


Twitter: TrailkeepersOR