Volunteer

Volunteers are an essential part of Hells Canyon Preservation Council. We are a grassroots, community-based, non-profit conservation organization and we couldn’t do our work without you! Please read on to learn more about how you can help.

Ground-truthing Volunteer Opportunities:

“Ground-truthing” is the process of gathering information about a project and verifying that information through on-the-ground field investigations. Ground-truthing is a critical component of our work because it helps us compare what an agency proposes for a particular project on paper with how that project will actually play out on the ground—noting any inconsistencies between the two. Ground-truthing is a powerful way to help enforce the laws we now have while getting to know some truly incredible areas on our public lands. The only prerequisite is your desire to see our public lands protected.

Being an effective ground-truther simply requires being comfortable outdoors, walking off trails (occasional bushwacking), paying attention to the surroundings, and taking good notes (and decent photos). Basic map reading skills are needed and knowledge of ecosystems, plants and wildlife is of course very helpful and learned through the process. HCPC will provide maps of the area, information on the proposed project, and survey sheets that will guide ground-truthers in knowing what to look for and document while in the field. Other helpful equipment includes: cameras, field guides on native plants and wildlife, binoculars, measuring tape, and a compass/GPS device.


Grazing Allotment Monitoring (Spring, Summer, Fall): Monitor livestock grazing allotments on National Forest and BLM lands for signs of overgrazing, damage to riparian areas, livestock trespass, rangeland projects in need of repair, and document plants, fish and wildlife.

Contact:  Veronica Warnock at  541-963-3950 x3 or veronica@hellscanyon.org

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Timber Sale Monitoring (Spring, Summer, Fall): The basic concept of ground-truthing timber sales is simple: walk a timber sale to make sure the Forest Service or BLM is doing what the law requires. We document important ecosystem characteristics such as old growth trees and forests, wildlife habitat and signs of wildlife use, rare plants, the general topographical characteristics of the landscape, and the condition of the surrounding landscape. Riparian areas and aquatic environments are carefully examined for consistency with legal protections. Ground-truthing is our chance to compare the agency’s written proposal with markings on the ground. Ground-truthing is also a rewarding way to get to know the incredible forests we have and what we stand to lose if we don’t advocate for their protection.

Contact:  Veronica Warnock at  541-963-3950 x3 or veronica@hellscanyon.org

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Road-truthing/Off-Highway Vehicle Use Monitoring (Spring, Summer, Fall): Road-truthing provides the on-the-ground means to survey the user-created motorized route network on public lands for which little to no spatial information exists. We document resource damage caused by motorized activities and Off-highway Vehicles (“OHVs”) such as soil erosion, aquatic impacts, damage to plant communities, impacts to wildlife habitat, spread of invasive weeds, illegal firewood harvesting, and signs of poaching and unauthorized OHV use. Road-truthing is a great way to cover lots of ground while observing firsthand the impacts of motorized vehicles on our Public Lands.

Contact:  Veronica Warnock at  541-963-3950 x3 or veronica@hellscanyon.org


Wildlife Connectivity Corridors (Summer and Fall): Monitor areas HCPC has identified as wildlife connectivity corridors for increased protection and restoration opportunities (documenting existing impacts and conservation threats to the area), signs of wildlife use, and habitat characteristics.

Contact:  Veronica Warnock at  541-963-3950 x3 or veronica@hellscanyon.org

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Restoration Volunteer Opportunities

Contact Brian Kelly,  541-963-3950 x4 or brian@hellscanyon.org for information about how you can volunteer.

Planting native willows in the Grande Ronde valley. Photo: Brian Kelly

Planting native willows in the Grande Ronde valley. Photo: Brian Kelly

If you would like to help restore a native ecosystem with your own two hands, then you should consider becoming an HCPC restoration volunteer. Past projects have included planting native willows, dogwood, and clovers in riparian areas. HCPC volunteers have also removed sulfur cinquefoil and other non-native invasive weeds by hand-digging. All projects help restore the condition of our native wild lands and improve the quality of wildlife habitat. At the end of the day, you walk away knowing that you have made a difference!

Volunteer restoration projects involve physical labor outdoors in all kinds of weather. You will get your hands dirty! Volunteers work together in a crew to get the job done and have a good time in the process. Volunteer crews have ranged in size from five people to a dozen or more.