Sisters trails are subject to wear and tear from heavy use and from the impacts of weather. Volunteers keep them in good shape, in work parties organized by Sisters Trails Alliance (STA).

This fall, a cadre of 21 volunteers put in 240 hours working on winter trails to the south of Sisters (see related story, page 1). According to STA Volunteer Coordinator Greg Vandehey, the organization has no problem finding people to lend a hand.

“I didn’t have to work very hard to find volunteers, to put it plainly,” he told The Nugget.

Many of the volunteers who brush out trails and log out deadfall trees and maintain shelters and the like are longtime residents of the Sisters area, people who use the trails and want to contribute to their maintenance. But especially over the past year, there has been an influx of newcomers eager to help out.

“Ten to 20 percent of our volunteers are new to Sisters,” Vandehey reported.

Like their veteran peers, they are motivated to maintain the trails they use — but they also find volunteering a way to meet people and integrate into the Sisters community, Vandehey said.

The work is physical, but well within the capabilities of active trail users.

“The people who come out to volunteer are people who like to hike and be out in the outdoors, so they’re in pretty good physical condition,” Vandehey said.

He did acknowledge that the day spent cutting firewood to stock the Jefferson Shelter was pretty demanding for everyone involved.

Volunteers who put in 16-plus hours with STA are rewarded with a Northwest Forest Pass from the U.S. Forest Service — though Vandehey said that that’s just a nice perk; the incentive is the work and its results.

STA welcomes new members, but you don’t have to be a member to volunteer for work parties: www.

sisterstrails.org/Volunteer.