The Trailhead Stewardship Project

The Trailhead in Baker City is excited to announce the Trailhead Stewardship Project. In partnership with the Wallowa Whitman National Forest (WWNF), The Trailhead Stewardship Project (TSP) was initiated to provide a means of trail maintenance within the local forest.

Without federal funding, many of Baker County’s multiuse trails have been left overgrown and even impassable. Along with bringing our local trail infrastructure back to life, the TSP is dedicated to help manage and spread out the influx of visitors to Baker County, all while working to facilitate a positive impact on our local economy and our way of life. This will involve not just work on the trails themselves but how the overall messaging, managing, planning and coordination are conducted and carried out.

While trails are a large part of the TSP, it also recognizes the importance of highlighting Baker County communities. These small and sometimes overlooked communities are rich with locally owned businesses that pair well with the Outdoor Recreation tourist and local. It is imperative to drive the “support local” message to visitors (and locals), in effort to strengthen our local economy. Outdoor Recreation Tourism can have a very positive economic impact and the TSP is dedicated to doing its part to spread the message through connecting visitors to our small towns, especially as Baker County endures this pandemic.

Trail Maintenance & Repair:
The TSP is partnering directly with the WWNF to spearhead trailhead maintenance and repair, wayfinding, and coordination of all user groups (biking, hiking, equestrian, ATV/OHV, etc.) to identify trail user needs. The TSP is committed to ensuring our Trailheads and trails are respected, clean and well managed.

With a primary focus on Baker County, the TSP will encompass all trails within the Elkhorns, Southern Wallowas and other trails in and around Baker County. The Trailhead will invest in this project and initially hire one full-time seasonal employee specific to the TSP.

As grant opportunities arise, the Trailhead will continue to invest in local trail infrastructure, signage, as well as work with our small communities to connect users to local businesses.

Education & Stewardship
The Trailhead Stewardship Project is not working to promote visitors to Baker County but is providing information to the visitors (and locals) in effort to facilitate responsible recreation and safety. Baker County will continue to see increase in outdoor recreation tourism and the TSP is dedicated to help manage this increase, so it has a positive impact on the visitor, the local outdoor recreationalist, our small locally owned businesses, and most importantly, our local way of life.

Through providing trail information, trailhead amenities, directions and local area information, the TSP hopes to keep people informed and bolster the local economy.

Local Area Information & Small Business Support:
Along with trail maintenance and information, the TSP works to link trail users to the local areas that serve these trails. The TSP website hosts local area information, highlighting Baker County communities and the outdoor recreation available in those areas. The new Trailhead website includes local area info highlighting businesses and events that have been hit the hardest during the pandemic, as well as businesses that compliment a day outside.

Because outdoor recreating is abundant throughout Baker County, it is crucial to emphasize our communities’ small businesses and bring awareness to visitors as well as remind locals to spend local.

The hope is that by connecting outdoor recreation to local area information through the new website, more dollars will stay local while folks play outside.

The Website:
With the increase in outdoor recreation tourism to Baker County, combined with local recreation enthusiasts, it becomes imperative to provide a source of accurate and on-the-ground information to help relay conditions, amenities, and directions for area trails/trailheads, as well as driving visitors to support the small communities that serve them.

The new Trailhead website is designed to meet the growing need for accessible outdoor recreation and area information for locals and visitors. The Trailhead website is a one place fits all site to direct visitors (and locals) to who want to explore Outdoor Recreation in Baker County. The site compliments the Travel Baker County and Visit Baker websites and provides links to both throughout.

The idea is to educate visitors before they arrive to help preserve trailhead cleanliness and infrastructure, as well as maintain visitor safety.

Each trailhead lists directions and available amenities including toilets, garbage service, water, and cell service, as well as a trail description, current conditions, and trip type.
Please visit the newly launched site to learn more about the background, goals, driving forces, and current projects of the Trailhead Stewardship Project.

The Trailhead is excited to provide such a comprehensive resource to our locals and visitors. The TSP’s partnership with the WWNF will help to continue improving the local trail infrastructure for years to come and grant opportunities will help with the project’s success. Overall, the TSP is eager for the spring melt, so our crew can start on projects and we can in turn welcome locals and visitors to newly cleared area trails and provide them with information to recreate responsibly and safely and all while have a positive economic impact on our small communities.