TSP Purpose & Reason
Over the past several years and especially the summer of 2020, the Wallowa Whitman National Forest (WWNF) has witnessed a significant increase in use by locals and out-of-area visitors. Multiple user groups have local trailheads, campgrounds, and parking areas at capacity most summer weekends, and RVs and tents could be found in primitive areas as well. The summer of 2020 was memorable on many levels, but the amount of people recreating on the WWNF stands out.
Understanding that the bulk of the USFS budget has moved from recreation to fire, as well as understanding the significant impact outdoor recreation has on our local economy, The Trailhead Bike and Ski shop in Baker City has initiated the Trailhead Stewardship Project (TSP). The TSP was created to facilitate the need for human and monetary resources on the WWNF, helping to mindfully and effectively bolster Outdoor Recreation for our locals and visitors.
While the trail systems throughout the Elkhorns and southern Wallowas are remarkable to say the least, these trails have deteriorated significantly (some are even unpassable), in large part due to lack of funding. The Trailhead is partnering directly with the WWNF to spearhead trailhead maintenance and repair, wayfinding, and coordination of all user groups to identify trail user needs. The TSP will not be specific to biking and hiking trails, but include all user groups; biking, hiking, equestrian, ATV/OHV, etc.
The TSP will encompass all trails within the Elkhorns, Southern Wallowas, and other trails in and around Baker County. The Trailhead plans to invest in this project and hire one seasonal full-time (to start) employee specific to this project. As grant opportunities present themselves, we will continue to invest in trail infrastructure, in our community, and hopefully be able to move to additional staffing dedicated to trail maintenance and repair.