Volunteers are critical for sustaining the Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area. Whether you are an avid outdoor adventurer, live-in campground host, or just a casual one-time volunteer looking for a chance to give back, there are opportunities for you! Whatever your age, fitness level, skillset, and interests, we can use your help. Volunteers who serve for more than 250 hours can earn an "America the Beautiful" Volunteer Pass, which is a one-year pass for federal public lands (National Parks, Forests, Grasslands, and more!)

Visitor Information Services

Do you like working with people and love the idea of being an amateur naturalist or historian? Help enhance visitor's experiences by sharing interpretive information at one of our centers or trailheads. This is a great volunteer opportunity for all fitness levels, and gives you an excuse to come out to the scenic area on a regular basis. 

  • Friends of Multnomah Falls - Share information with visitors from around the world as part of the Multnomah Falls Information Center. You'll have front row seats to Oregon's most visited natural attraction!
  • Trailhead Ambassadors - Trailhead ambassadors are docents stationed seasonally at popular trailheads to help orient visitors, and share information to ensure they have a safe and sustainable hike. 

Caring for the Land

  • Friends of the Columbia Gorge - Work the group who helped get the National Scenic Area designation passed in 1986 to preserve the beauty and biodiversity of the Columbia River Gorge for generations to come. 
  • Sandy River Watershed Council - The Sandy River Watershed Council is composed of people who live, work, or recreate in the Sandy River Basin working together to improve the health of the watershed for fish, wildlife and people. 
  • Friends of Trees --  This passionate group has a green thumb, planting trees with community volunteers at our Sandy River Delta site. Join them during planting season, which runs from October to April! 

Trail Maintenance 

A well-built trail blends seemlessly with the landscape, making it hard to realize how much maintenance goes into them behind the scenes! Trail work can be exhiliarating, but it does require skill, proper gear, and a certain amount of fitness. Contact one of our partner groups to get involved in an organized outing: 

  • Cape Horn Conservancy - This small, passionate group of dedicated trail enthusiasts focuses on Cape Horn Trail, a route around a promontory with some of the best views of the National Scenic Area. 
  • Friends of the Sandy River Delta - When Sandy River Delta was acquired in 1991 by the Forest Service, it was little more than an abandoned lot. This Friends group has helped make it a favorite place for city slickers to trot, run, bike, hike, and play! 
  • Pacific Crest Trail Association - Don't be fooled by their name, the PCTA works on more than just the Pacific Crest Trail! In fact, they offer one of the best training programs around during their annual spring Trail Skills College in Cascade Locks, Oregon.
  • Trailkeepers of Oregon --This rapidly growing group works on many of our most heavily visited west end trails. 
  • Washington Trails Association - This well-established and welcoming group will teach you everything you need to know about how to help support your hiking habit as a volunteer!
  • Klickitat Trail Conservancy - For those looking to get further off the beaten path, Klickitat Trail Conservancy is a great team to join, focusing on a Rails-to-Trails conversation in the eastern Gorge.
  • Oregon Equestrian Trails -- The Mt. Hood Chapter of this group is also involved with supporting some of our multi-use trails in the National Scenic Area. Contact the group to learn more.

To discuss corporate group volunteer opportunities or other unique arrangements, contact Edan Lira at 541-308-1727 or edan.lira@usda.gov.

Culture and History

  • Passport in Time (PIT) is a volunteer cultural heritage resources program that enables volunteers to work directly with professional archaeologists and historians on public lands. 
  • Confluence Project - Confluence is a community-supported nonprofit that connects people to the history, living cultures, and ecology of the Columbia River system through Indigenous voices. 

Youth Engagement

Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area hosts several summer youth programs each year. Please contact us for more information about future opportunities. Make sure to review all the Opportunities For Young People with the Forest Service to get involved.

Seasonal Site Hosts

Want to spend a summer in an epic place where scenery, history, and recreational opportunities abound? Our site hosts, which live on-site in their own RV or trailer, help connect our visitors to the natural world. We have traditional campground hosts and day use hosts who live on-site during the recreation season.