Alder Springs Clean-up and Trail Maintenance June 22-24


Great Basin Spadefoot Toads – a sleepy chorus

Great Basin Spadefoot Toads – a sleepy chorus


Western Meadowlark Dawn Chorus

Western Meadowlark Dawn Chorus


Mary McCord, ONDA Volunteer

Mary McCord, ONDA Volunteer

“I find enjoyment in the peaceful wide open spaces, geology, and rich history of Oregon’s high desert,” says Mary. Reflecting on volunteering, she continues, “If you have the ability and desire, it’s important to do something to contribute. It doesn’t have to be big, because every little bit helps.”

Organizer: Lisa Foster

Start Date: 6/22/2018

End Date: 6/24/2018

Region: Central Oregon

Difficulty Rating: 3 out of 5

Maximum Group Size: 10 participants

About the place

Alder Springs is one of the hidden gems of Central Oregon’s high desert and included in ONDA’s Whychus-Deschutes wilderness proposal. At its source, Alder Springs gushes out of the base of a cliff into a lush canyon, dumping over 60 cubic feet per second of water (more than flows from the head of the Metolius) into lower Whychus Creek. Whychus Creek provides prime spawning habitat for salmon and steelhead as they return to our watershed and is crucial winter range for mule deer and other wildlife. The Alder Springs Trail is an incredibly popular recreation destination, with hundreds of visitors coming to enjoy this oasis in the high desert every year, putting pressure on the fragile ecosystem. As Alder Springs increases in popularity, more attention is needed from those who love this place to ensure that it remains wild and healthy.

About the stewardship work

This trip will focus on preparing the Alder Springs area to weather the busy hiking season. Training will be provided, so while there is no experience necessary, volunteers need to have a good base fitness level and be accustomed to working safely with tools such as shovels, handsaws and loppers. This trip will involve lots of bending over and some light lifting. Volunteers will help with trail maintenance using shovels and other trail tools, clearing fast-growing brush that is encroaching on the trail with loppers and handsaws, campsite clean-up, removing noxious weeds, and other necessary maintenance activities. ONDA will provide all tools needed for the work. (We also provide gloves, but encourage volunteers to bring their own to ensure a good fit).

Trip timeline

  • Friday, June 22, 4 p.m.: We will meet to caravan/carpool 5 miles in to the Whychus Crossing Campground. After setting up camp and cooking dinner (each trip participant is responsible for their own meals), we will have a brief overview of the work for the weekend and what to expect on our first day.
  • Saturday, June 23: Up early for breakfast, then carpool to the trailhead. To reach our work site for the day, we will pack our tools and daypacks in up to 3 miles one way.
  • Sunday, June 24: Awake early for hiking and exploration, then back to work to complete any remaining trail maintenance. We will plan to return to the parking area by 4 p.m.


This trip will involve car camping at an undeveloped site on Whychus Creek, which includes ample flat tent-sites, but no toilets or potable water. Participants need to have a tent capable of handling cold temperatures, rain, and wind… or the ability to sleep comfortably in their own vehicles. Volunteers should bring water for the trip and ONDA will bring extra water to share.


Level 3

Alder Springs is located in a steep canyon, and though the trail is relatively gradual, it can be rocky and uneven at times. There is a mandatory creek crossing through cold and rapidly moving water that is typically about knee deep for an adult of average size, but could be higher during spring flows. Water shoes and/or trekking poles are recommended for the crossing, though it can be done barefoot by those with tough feet!

Participant responsibilities

Participants are responsible for their own food, camping gear, as well as transportation to and from the trip. Carpooling can be arranged after registration. Participants will need their own tent or the ability to sleep in their cars, a sleeping pad, sleeping bag, cookware, stove, lanterns, and headlamps with fresh batteries are also required. Sturdy off-trail ankle-high boots are recommended for this trip.

A more complete packing list will be sent out three weeks before the trip starts.

Gear provided

ONDA will provide the gear for the work, excellent guidance in the field, and a few group camping items to make things more comfortable (chairs, tables, dishwashing bins, campfire materials, water, shade/rain tarp, “groover” camp toilet, etc.)


An ONDA registration application and medical form are required for this trip.

 Apply Now

You only need to fill this form out once per year and can join additional trips this year by e-mailing the trip leader directly. You will receive a confirmation e-mail within 10 working days of submitting your form. The confirmation e-mail will provide information regarding which trips you are on the “participant list” for, and which trips are full, and therefore you have been placed on the “wait list.”

Four weeks before the start of the trip, the trip leader will send out an RSVP to make sure everyone is still able to participate. Based on RSVPs, open spaces will be backfilled with people from the waitlist.

Three weeks before the trip start date, registered and confirmed participants will receive driving instructions, maps, car-pooling options, and additional information in an email sent by the trip leader

If you have any questions in the meantime, please don’t hesitate to contact the trip leader.