$1 for Trails Program Revamp for the Deschutes Trails Coalition
- Deschutes Trails Coalition
Trail systems in the Pacific Northwest do not receive the amount of funding needed to maintain the existing system, let alone make improvements or develop new trails. Central Oregon is no exception. The Deschutes Trails Coalition is a nonprofit comprising 30 partners, focused on creating a sustainable future for trails. DTC launched the $1 for Trails program, an innovative effort to help fund development and stewardship of regional trails. Area businesses collect one-dollar donations – during online booking processes, at point-of-sale checkouts or through an add-on to existing resort fees. These funds are important, as they are unrestricted and can be applied to a variety of trail system improvements.
While the concept is strong, the Deschutes Trails Coalition felt the program hadn’t fulfilled its potential. Through the Innovative Finance for National Forests funding program, the U.S. Forest Service funded a program assessment that would deliver recommendations to improve the program for greater impact. The DTC hired Crosscurrent Collective to lead the assessment, develop a program strategy in collaboration with the DTC board of directors, and produce a communications and partnership strategy.
Crosscurrent started by surveying and interviewing current program partners for their feedback, and also reached out to potential partners. The team asked about program familiarity, support for the concept, barriers encountered, the level of DTC support, and the results if they had participated. Then they asked for discrete recommendations on everything from program branding to fee collection.
Armed with this useful data, Crosscurrent led two in-depth strategy sessions with the DTC board. The sessions addressed program viability and set goals for how to raise awareness and recruit new partners, and how staff could more effectively manage the program.
Prior to the assessment, DTC had collected more than $115,000 in donations through the $1 for Trails program. Three of the principal partners, Sunriver Resort, Mt. Bachelor Ski Area and the DMO Visit Bend, had collected the vast majority of this. As a result of the thoroughness and positive benefit of the surveys and interviews, two new lodging properties with brand alignment joined the program in 2021. With Crosscurrent’s insight-gathering, input and guidance, the DTC board was able to create a go-forward strategy that will:
- Continue to invest in and improve the program
- Establish dedicated staff resources
- Create a solid and more targeted communications plan
- Strengthen the $1 for Trails brand and create new outreach materials
- Focus primarily on lodging properties, but also consider retail partners that naturally align
- Conducted research including survey design, distribution, interviews and focus groups
- Facilitated strategy sessions
- Developed communications plan
- Presented program results at the 2021 Oregon Outdoor Recreation Summit
FOR FURTHER READING:
- $1 for Trails Program Overview (PDF), 2019
- $1 for Trails Program info, Deschutes Trails Coalition website
- Deschutes Trails Coalition
- Discover Your Forest
- U.S. Forest Service
- Central Oregon Visitors Association
- Visit Bend
Crosscurrent makes the complex simple.
01Set Up a Discovery SessionContact us to schedule a free 30-minute discovery session.
02Create a Road MapTogether we’ll sketch a road map to get a feel for the investment required.
03Get to WorkOnce the road map is clear and the details agreed on, we’ll get right to work!