Volunteers get winter trails in shape
Last updated 11/30/2021 at Noon
Some of Sisters’ beloved winter trails are ready for winter — whenever it arrives.
Twenty-one volunteers put in 240 hours on Nordic and snowshoeing trails south of Sisters in what Sisters Trails Alliance (STA) Secretary Ann Richardson called “by far our biggest volunteer work effort of 2021.”
Long-time STA volunteer Gary Guttormsen told The Nugget that work crews got started in late September getting trails in the area of the Three Creeks Snow Parks in shape. They did maintenance work on the Jefferson shelter and cut firewood for users. A couple of years ago, STA replaced the wood stove in the shelter.
After fall winds died down, volunteers got down to the heavy work of logging out trees that had fallen across trails. They worked on the Snow Creek Trail (known in summer as the Metolius-Windigo) and Warren’s and Nancy’s Loops.
Kreg Lindberg led a 13-person work party over the November 20-21 weekend. An avid skier, he was loading up his cross-country skis to take them for a waxing when The Nugget interviewed him.
Guttormsen and Lindberg noted that where the Pole Creek Fire burned through in 2021 it’s no longer possible to mount blue diamond trail markers on trees. So volunteers planted blue PVC pipe with diamond markers to denote trails across the burn area.
Lindberg said about 15 of the 10-foot poles were planted a foot deep into the ground. In other areas, fallen diamonds were replaced on trees.
Lindberg said that STA doesn’t have a count of winter trail users, but anecdotal evidence indicates that the trails are well-used — especially recently.
“With COVID, there has been a real boom in outdoor recreation use, and winter recreation is part of that,” he said.
Increasing use makes STA’s work more vital than ever, and the community is supporting it.
STA has received a $2,000 matching grant from an anonymous donor. All donations and memberships received through December will count toward the match.
“Most of our funds are used to outfit our volunteers with equipment and supplies,” Richardson said.
She said that STA also hopes to fund volunteer training and volunteer appreciation events next year. Donations or membership applications can be made at http://www.sisterstrails.org.
Guttormsen, who has logged countless hours himself in service of STA, was gratified at the effort this fall.
“We had a really good turnout of trail volunteers,” he said. “We’re ready to go now.”
All that’s needed is a good snowfall.