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OREGON DESERT TRAIL CASE STUDY

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The Oregon Desert Trail is a 750-mile long-distance hiking route through southeastern Oregon.

Overview

Project: Oregon Desert Trail Development

Scope: I was hired in 2015 to continue the development of the Oregon Desert Trail, a project that began in 2010. My responsibilities included building grassroots support by engaging businesses, individuals, hikers, and other potential supporters throughout eastern Oregon and across the state. Additionally, I was tasked with determining the best way to integrate the Oregon Desert Trail with ONDA’s conservation and stewardship work.

Project Details

Process: In 2016, I hiked/packrafted the entire 750-mile route to determine the best direction for the trail's development. Since then my work has included:

  • Establishing the trail and its surrounding landscapes as valuable economic, recreational, and social assets for communities along the route.

  • Raising public awareness about the high desert by connecting people with the Oregon Desert Trail and its landscapes.

  • Continuously refining the trail route.

  • Engaging hikers in ONDA’s conservation and stewardship efforts.

  • Researching and securing additional funding for the Oregon Desert Trail program.

  • Organizing stewardship trips along the trail corridor.

  • Building strong partnerships with leaders from land management agencies.

Impact: The Oregon Desert Trail attracts hundreds of hikers each year, with over 70 having completed the entire 750-mile route. These hikers regularly engage with ONDA on conservation issues affecting landscapes along the trail.

I created new and redesigned existing trail resources including maps, a guidebook, a databook/water chart, water cache guidelines and maps, GPS waypoints and tracks, a town and services guide, and multi-sport options for biking, paddling, equestrians, and snow travel.

I have delivered over 100 presentations to more than 5,000 people. The Oregon Desert Trail has been featured in media outlets such as Patagonia, The Washington Post, The New York Times, and Oregon Field Guide, among others in the news and outdoor industry.

I led over 15 stewardship trail maintenance trips along the route with more than 100 volunteers, contributing over 2,000 hours. These efforts were in collaboration with agency partners to address deferred trail maintenance.

Testimonials

"When I hiked the Oregon Desert Trail in 2018, it was the easiest logistical planning I have ever done. All the resources that Renee had developed essentially made the trail, which is a difficult route, essentially a plug-and-play hike. Resupply strategy, town guide, maps, and even easy-to-use GPX files make planning a breeze and the hike that much more enjoyable."

Whitney "Allgood" LaRuffa

VP Sales & Marketing, Six Moon Designs

President Emeritus, ALDHA-West

"Renee and I worked closely for many years as she developed the Oregon Desert Trail. I can honestly say I’ve never worked with a more capable or creative person. Her varied skills, love of outdoor adventure and kind, can-do sensibility dovetail perfectly with her consulting business to help clients develop long distance trails. Choosing to work with Renee will be one of your best decisions."

Ben Gordon

Executive Director
Central Oregon Land Watch

"Renee lives and breathes trails and she knows what it takes to make them successful. From community outreach to hiker support to route planning and more, she helped establish the Oregon Desert Trail from a developing concept to what it is today."

Brent Fenty

Founder, Oregon Desert Trail

Executive Director, Oregon Desert Land Trust

“I am certainly inspired by the conversations, observations, and thoughts I had on this walk to pursue land management negotiations in hopes of protecting this amazing desert as best can be. The creation of a trail by a conservation organization is a brilliant way to inspire individuals, and create opportunities for extremely positive conversations across the route.”

 

2018 ODT thru-hiker Danny Archibald

Want to discuss how I can help your organization create innovative solutions?

Book a 30-minute meeting today.

 

By working with me, you are not only accessing 20+ years of long-distance trail hiking and professional experience but you will be connected to my network of long-distance hiking and outdoor industry professionals so I can find the right people or services for your needs.

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