Storms Drive Volunteers Into Woods

Wind storms between Christmas and New Year’s Day left volunteers with the Central Oregon Nordic Club hitting ski and snowshoe trails on an almost daily basis to remove fallen trees.

Dozens of trees fell onto snowshoe and back-country ski trails, and workers began removing them nearly as soon as the winds died down. Workers have cleared the Swampy Lake and Todd Lake snowshoe trails, Swampy Lakes and Nordeen ski trails, Swede Ridge loop trail, Flagline trail, Todd Ridge trail and more.

“Wow! Lots accomplished quickly,” says CONC vice president Susan Sullivan.

All of this was on top of the estimated 2,000 hours that CONC volunteers had already worked in 2018.

“Thanks to everyone on the recent efforts to log out,” says volunteer Woody Keen. “There are a few more [downed trees] out there, but with the hard-working crews, we got 95% logged out in a short period of time.”

There’s always work to do, so there’s always a need for volunteers – not only clearing trails in winter but in the offseason, plus stocking ski shelters with firewood. Club members also help with signage, bridges and debris management.

Volunteers communicate on tasks, scheduling, etc., though a special email group. Anybody who wants to be included in this group can send an email to

CONC co-president Gary Kelley reports that “the CONC volunteer community has been a big help by using the volunteer e-mail group to communicate” work that needs to be done. In particular, work crews welcome information on where obstacles are located, including junction numbers when possible. It also helps work crews to know how large trees are in diameter and whether an obstacle poses a danger or can be skied around.

“This is especially important after a wind storm and/or if the tree blocks a steep downhill grade,” Gary adds. “We need lots of tree scouts.”

Messages can be sent to If somebody does clear an obstacle, please let volunteer crew leaders to know in order to avoid duplicate trips.

The efforts have been appreciated by skiers and snowshoers.

“Much gratitude to ALL the volunteers who maintain the trails and remove the down trees,” said Dorbina Bishop in an email to the club.