Local Sponsors: 

US Forest Service, Deschutes National Forest

Bend Park and Recreation,

Oregon Natural Desert Association

The Old Mill District

East Cascades Chapter - Back Country Horsemen of Oregon, Back Country Horsemen of America.

Visit Bend



For National Wilderness Workshop News Release CLICK HERE

For full Program Schedule CLICK HERE.

For detailed Session Abstracts CLICK HERE 

For Back Country Horsemen of Oregon Demonstrations CLICK HERE


REGISTRATION is CURRENTLY CLOSED.  Over 200 people have registered and we have reached our maximum Facility capacity.

Just like in the real world when our capacity was reached we were faced with hard decisions.  Some of the more popular sessions will be recorded for viewing in the future.

Presenters who have not yet registered should contact Randy Welsh, Executive Director, at randy@wildernessalliance.org.

Space is still available for the Pre-Workshop Trainings - Leave No Trace Trainer and Unconscious Bias Workshop.  Please contact randy@wildernessalliance.org to register.

Workshop Information

The 2019 National Wilderness Workshop

“The Path from Recreationist to Steward; Engaging Wilderness Users to Help Care for the Places They Cherish”

October 23 - 26, 2019

Bend, Oregon

Hampton Inn and Suites, and Hilton Garden Inn in the Old Mill District

The National Wilderness Stewardship Alliance and the Society of Wilderness Stewardship, in partnership with the U. S. Forest Service, the Bureau of Land Management, Bend Parks and Recreation, the Oregon Natural Desert Association, and a host of local partners, are pleased to announce the upcoming National Wilderness Workshop in the beautiful destination city of Bend, Oregon.  Bend is located in Central Oregon and is a gateway to the Three Sisters, Mt. Jefferson, Mt Washington, the Oregon Badlands, and other central Cascades wilderness areas.

The National Wilderness Workshop is the premier gathering of wilderness stewardship organizations, federal agencies, and wilderness academics to learn and discuss current wilderness issues, network among like-minded professionals, and seek solutions to pressing wilderness problems. 

The Area

Bend is the Central Oregon hotspot for outdoor recreation.  Situated on the east side of the Central Cascades along the Deschutes River, Bend is the starting point for many adventures with easy access to wilderness and front country areas.  Many hiking, equestrian, and biking trails abound in the area.  Over 10 Wild and Scenic Rivers are within an hour’s drive of Bend.  It is a true wilderness and recreation travel destination.

For more information on Bend please visit:  https://www.visitbend.com/.

The Program

The workshop will consist of general plenary and concurrent sessions all around the theme of wilderness stewardship.  General sessions will provide understanding about the uniqueness of Oregon wilderness areas, the challenges of recreation use in these areas, and how they provide transformative experiences for wilderness users.  Updates on national wilderness issues will also be presented.  Concurrent sessions will provide more detailed presentations around wilderness science, wilderness management issues, wilderness stewardship and volunteer engagement.  A new feature this year is our Campfire Talks venue where we will have a backcountry camp set up on the banks of the Deschutes River for more personal talks and demonstrations.  The Back Country Horsemen of Oregon, East Cascades Chapter, providing hands-on demonstrations on horse packing, trail building skills, x-cut saw demonstrations, and Dutch oven cooking.  There is even a rumor that another edition of the ever-popular Wilderness Olympics will be held. 

Saturday Field trips will explore the many different varieties of wilderness opportunities, challenges, issues, and special places around Bend.  Each field trip will have a set of specific learning objectives, a local expert to lead discussions and transportation.  Lunch will be provided.  Field trips are a unique addition to the Workshop to get more in-depth field level knowledge and interact with other participants and local experts on wilderness issues affecting all areas through the lens of the local wilderness area.

This Workshop will be a great opportunity to learn new skills, interact with seasoned field experts, and show off your own skills.  Wilderness Workshop participants will learn about the latest in wilderness issues, practical strategies to engage their local audiences and tools and techniques to help them be more effective in their current stewardship roles, as well as challenge them in their wilderness stewardship efforts.

Pre-Workshop Special Offerings

Several outstanding training opportunities are being offered prior to the Workshop.  These classes will provide more in-depth hands-on training on specialized topics.    These classes are limited and will be filled on a first come-first served basis.  Note class size limits with each training.  Note that additional fees will apply and will be invoiced separately once each class fills.


Pre-Workshop Session #1  - SPACE STILL AVAILABLE

Leave No Trace Trainer Course, Tuesday – Wednesday, October 22nd-23rd, 8:00 – 4:00 pm

Cost:  $120 per person. Includes partial meals/snacks, educational materials for the course, and a one year membership to Leave No Trace.  Limited to 12 people.  Participants will be invoiced for payment after class fills.

This course will be held in a combination of indoor and outdoor venues in Bend, OR.

Overview: The Leave No Trace Trainer Course is a modified version of the five-day Leave No Trace Master Educator Course. Like Master Educator Courses, two-day Leave No Trace Trainer Courses emphasize skills and techniques essential to Leave No Trace minimum impact outdoor ethics and education. This course is designed for individuals who will be teaching Leave No Trace, providing Leave No Trace outreach or who want to deepen their understanding of the science behind Leave No Trace. Through classroom discussions, lectures, interactive activities and a two-day outing, this course will cover the Leave No Trace Seven Principles, discuss outdoor ethics, and give participants tools and techniques for disseminating Leave No Trace skills to others.

Curriculum includes:

- The principles and ethics of Leave No Trace

- Teaching skills and techniques and student learning styles

- One teaching session led by each participant.

- Overview of the national Leave No Trace program and the role and function of the Leave No Trace Center for Outdoor Ethics

Those who complete the Trainer Course are equipped to:

- Facilitate Leave No Trace Awareness Workshops

- Understand, demonstrate and teach Leave No Trace minimum impact techniques to others

- Lead a discussion on outdoor ethics and help others explore their own personal outdoor ethic

- Serve as a co-instructor for Leave No Trace Trainer Courses with a qualified Master Educator


Pre-Workshop Session #2

Wild and Scenic Rivers Pre-Conference Training Course - THIS COURSE IS FULL

Managing Wild and Scenic Rivers in Wilderness

Designed for resource managers, management partners and river advocates, this two-day workshop introduces participants to the requirements and methods of managing rivers under the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act with a targeted emphasis on rivers in designated wilderness areas.  Day 1 reviews the history of the Act, core principles, management planning requirements, watershed planning, user capacities, water-resource project assessment and fire management considerations.  Day 2 is spent in the field seeing examples of Wild and Scenic River management practices and partnership projects first hand.

Workshop Flyer for more information

This class is limited to 30 people.  

This session requires a separate registration and payment.  Cost is $280 for RMS members / $300 for non-members and is managed by the River Management Society's River Training Office.  To register for this pre-conference session go to:


The first day of this course will be at the Hilton Garden Inn.  The second day involves a field trip, meet at the Hilton Garden Inn to load vans.


Pre-Workshop Session #3  -  SPACE STILL AVAILABLE

Unconscious Bias Workshop – Wednesday, October 23, 8:00 – 4:00 pm, $200 per person.  This course is limited to 40 people.  Participants will be invoiced for payment after the class fills.

Taught by the Avarna Group, (www.theavarnagroup.com) this foundational daylong workshop on unconscious bias will help all stewardship organizations identify internal issues and develop improvement plans to address diversity, equity, and inclusion in their organizations.  This session will identify definitions for diversity, inclusion, equity, justice, cultural competence, and cultural relevancy (collective "JEDI" work). There will be discussion on how our own internal and interpersonal unconscious biases prevent us from truly behaving in inclusive, equitable, and just ways.  Participant activities will help attendees uncover their individual biases and examine how their identities influence their biases.  Examples are provided of how stereotypes and microaggressions create exclusive environments for our colleagues and partners. This workshop session is tailored to the conservation and outdoor sector with case studies and scenarios that typically occur in this space. Participants will leave with tools to uncover, mitigate, and interrupt bias in themselves, challenge bias in others, and have difficult conversations about their own biases.  The last portion of the workshop can focus on ideas on how to hold your volunteer base accountable to your JEDI work, knowing that holding volunteers accountable to culture shift can be challenging for volunteer-fueled organizations.

This training will be held at the Hilton Garden Inn.


Our Workshop Venue

The National Wilderness Workshop will take place in the Hampton Inn and Suites and the Hilton Garden Inn, both in the Old Mill District of Bend Oregon.  This happening mix of lodging, shopping, restaurants, and entertainment is a hub for Bend’s night life and daily activity.  Located along the scenic Deschutes River there are walking trails, playgrounds, whitewater park, and a host of other recreation activities available.

For more information with the Old Mill Website at:  https://www.oldmilldistrict.com/

The Hampton Inn and Suites and the Hilton Garden Inn, both in the Old Mill District are the venue hotels.  Our room block has expired so rates will be at current market rates, roughly $150-160 per night.

Pre-Conference Workshop Training will be hosted at the Hilton Garden Inn.  Plenary sessions of the Workshop will be at the Hampton Inn.  Both hotels will host concurrent sessions.

Click here to make reservations at the HAMPTON INN AND SUITES 

Click here to make reservations at the HILTON GARDEN INN

There are many additional hotel and motel options within Bend.  Click here for other Bend lodging options.


Tumalo State Park is just outside of Bend and offers camping and RV/trailer spots during the week of the Workshop.  They also have yurt rentals at a reasonable cost.

Tumalo State Park Reservations


The Workshop includes a variety of lunches and receptions included in the Full Workshop registration.   Guests are invited to attend certain meal functions with purchase of a meal ticket available the day of registration.

Wednesday Night Opening Reception and Poster Session

All Workshop participants are invited to a hosted Opening reception, Wednesday night, October 23rd, at the Hampton Inn and Suites, from approximately 5:30 pm – 9:00 pm.  Opening Announcements will be made at approximately 6:30 p.m.  Select beer and wine will be provided at a cash bar, CASH ONLY.  Light refreshments will be served. 

The Opening Reception is an opportunity for stewardship groups to host a table to present exhibits and posters of their organizations, special projects, or general wilderness research or issues.  Note whether your group desires table space in your registration form.  We have over 30 groups who will be represented.

There will also be a selection of 20 Posters from participants with latest research results, field projects, and wilderness topics.  Poster presenters will be able to set-up posters starting about 1:00 noon.   All posters will be on display in the Camp Area on Thursday and Friday for the general public to view.  Posters can be picked up at the end of the Workshop on Friday.

Workshop participants may register, view organization displays, participant posters, and network with other Workshop attendees during this time.

Guest Tickets to the Reception will be available at the Workshop Registration Table.


A lunch buffet will be provided to Workshop participants at the Hampton Inn on Thursday and Friday.  A box lunch will be provided for the Saturday field trips.

Thursday Night Films

An assortment of wilderness themed films will be shown at the Hampton Inn from approximately 7:00 - 9:00.  Light snacks served.  See what other wilderness stewards have been doing and learn more about the value of wilderness.

Friday Evening Social

Friday night following the Workshop, a social is sponsored at the Deschutes Brewery, conveniently located a short walk from the Hampton Inn.  Appetizers and a no-host cash bar will be provided along with a free beer coupon to sample Deschutes Brewery beers.  A few rousing games of Wilderness Trivia are planned.

Guest Tickets to the Social will be available at the Workshop Registration Table.

Saturday Field Trips

A box lunch will be provided to participants on the field trips.

Air Service into Bend

Bend is serviced by several major airlines flying into the Redmond Municipal Airport.  Alaska, American, Delta and United all offer flights from major hub cities.  Most people can get to Bend with only one intermediate stop.  For more information visit http://www.flyrdm.com/.

Airport Transportation Shuttle

The Redmond Airport is about 15 miles north of Bend.  There are numerous options for ground transportation into Bend.

Ground Transportation Information:  http://www.flyrdm.com/?Ground-Transportation

We recommend first checking with:  Central Oregon Breeze, 541-389-7469,  https://cobreeze.com/

Typical costs will vary from $20-45.  There is some opportunity to consolidate passengers for a reduced rate with some companies.  Uber and Lyft drivers may also be available.

Shuttle Service Around Bend

Bend has a local bus service between the Old Mill and Downtown locations.  The Hotels have courtesy shuttle service to and from downtown Bend and other local points.  Uber and Lyft services are also available in Bend

Saturday Field Trips

Early season snowfall may affect availability of some high elevation trips.  Field trip assignments will be made Oct 13th and notices sent to participants.

An exciting feature of the National Wilderness Workshop is the opportunity to participate in a wilderness-oriented field trip.

Eight (8) field trip offerings have been filled.  The final field trips were chosen based on demand, trip capacity, and field conditions expected at the time of the workshop.   We were able to fulfill most people's first request.   Some field trips were combined that offer similar experiences.  Field trip size is generally limited to 12 people maximum per trip because of local party size limits.  Each field trip will have a Trip Leader and Discussion Leader/local area expert.  A box lunch will be provided.

Field trips vary in length and difficulty.  The degree of difficulty shown is reflective of the relative difference in difficulty between the different trips based.  Elevations will vary from 3,000 to 6,000 feet.  Local trail conditions will vary.  Please pick a trip that best matches your physical condition and skill level. 

Outdoor clothes, rugged footwear, sunglasses, sunscreen and a hat are recommended.  Bottled water will be available on each trip, but participants are encouraged to bring their own reusable water bottles.  A first aid kit will be available on each trip, but participants should ensure they have any required medications with them.

A few field trips have additional costs due to the hiring of local outfitters.  Each trip will identify any additional costs.

Each field trip will leave Bend Saturday morning between 8:00 and 10:00 am., with the longest trips leaving first, and short trips later.  The goal will be to have all the trips back in Bend by 5:00 pm.  Plan any airline flight schedules with this in mind.  Saturday night flights could be difficult to catch.

Transportation on the field trips will be a by passenger vans with drivers.


Field Trip Name

Length and Difficulty

Description, Objective and Discussion topics


Three Sisters Wilderness, Cascade Lakes Highway Access Points


Green Lakes


Degree of Difficulty:  Moderate

Total Miles:  8

Estimated Duration:  8 hours


Trip will leave from Green Lakes Trailhead.  Hike up Fall Creek past numerous waterfalls to scenic Green Lakes at the base of South Sister.  Discussion topics are high use areas in Wilderness, dog management, social trails, designated camps, and human waste management.


Moraine Lake

Degree of Difficulty:  Difficult

Total Miles:  7

Estimated Duration:  8 hours


Trip will leave from Devils Lake Trailhead.  Hike up the initial climb of South Sister and stop at Moraine Lake.  Discussion topics are high use areas in Wilderness, especially peak bagging impacts, social trails, designated camps, and human waste management.


Sisters Mirror Lakes


Degree of Difficulty:  Moderate

Total Miles:  7

Estimated Duration:  8 hours


Trip will leave from Sisters Mirror Trailhead.  Hike through a high elevation forest until reaching the Sisters Mirror Lake Basin where the Pacific Crest Trail passes through.  Discussion topics will be high use areas in Wilderness, social trails, campsite expansion, and PCT use and issues.


Pacific Crest Trail access


Degree of Difficulty:  Easy

Total Miles:  4

Estimated Duration:  5 hours


Trip will leave from Elk Lake Trailhead.  Hike through a high elevation forest that is an easy access to the PCT.  Discussion topics will be PCT access and PCT use in Wilderness.



Three Sisters Wilderness, Three Creek Lakes Access, Sisters

(may allow short stop in Sisters at trip end depending on the time)


Tam Rim and Wychus Creek

Degree of Difficulty:  Moderate

Total Miles:  6

Estimated Duration:  8 hours


Trip will leave from Tam Rim Trailhead.  Hike up to the top of Tam McArthur Rim with views of Three Creek Lake and the majority of the Cascade Range.  Discussion topics will be high use areas in Wilderness, social trails, and campgrounds on the edge of wilderness.  Includes a stop at the Wychus Overlook, which has an ADA accessible 1-mile loop to a view point of the Cascade Range.  Discussion of Wild and Scenic Rivers in Wilderness will occur.



Three Sisters Wilderness, McKenzie Highway Access, Sisters

(may allow short stop in Sisters at trip end depending on the time)


Mathieu Lakes


Degree of Difficulty: Moderate

Total Miles:  6

Estimated Duration:  8 hours


Trip leaves from Lava Camp Lake trailhead.  Hike to North and South Mathieu Lakes and loop back on the Pacific Crest Trail with views of Middle and North Sister.  Discussion topics are high use areas in Wilderness, social trails, designated sites in wilderness, human waste management, and PCT use.



Mt. Jefferson Wilderness, Santiam Pass Highway Access, Sisters

(may allow short stop in Sisters at trip end depending on the time)


Canyon Creek Meadows

Degree of Difficulty:  Easy/Moderate

Total Miles:  4.5

Estimated Duration:  7 hours


Trip leaves from Jack Lake Trailhead.  Hike to Canyon Creek Meadows at the base of Three Fingered Jack.  Discussion topics are high use areas in Wilderness, social trails, campsite expansion, impacts from PCT use (PCT is above the meadow with a social trail down to it) and recreation disturbance of wildlife (specifically goats).



Upper Deschutes WSR, Deschutes National Forest,


Dillon Falls - Slough Camp Kayak Trip


Degree of Difficulty:  Easy

Total Miles:  4

Estimated Duration:  6 hours


Trip leaves the Dillon Falls Trailhead with participants kayaking the Upper Deschutes WSR for several miles to Slough Camp and the end of Benham Falls whitewater.  Flat and slow moving, this section provides opportunity for wildlife viewing, scenic vistas, and discussion of WSR use topics.  This trip will be outfitted by Tumalo Creek Kayaks.  This trip requires an additional trip fee of $50 to be paid at Registration Table.



Oregon Badlands Wilderness, Hwy 20 Access, Bureau of Land Management


Ancient Juniper Trail and Flatiron Rock Trail

Oregon Desert Trail

Degree of Difficulty:  Easy

Total Miles:  4

Estimated Duration:  4 hours


Trip leaves from Tumulus Trailhead.  Participants will travel to the start of the 750-mile Oregon Desert Trail (ODT) in the Oregon Badlands Wilderness. We will hike on the trail and discuss the evolution of a route that was expressly designed to immerse hikers in the lands the Oregon Natural Desert Association has been striving to protect since 1987.  See amazing landscapes of ancient juniper, lava formations, and grasslands.  This 30,000-acre wilderness filled with fascinating lava flows and ancient juniper trees has become a celebrated part of Central Oregon’s identity in the 10 years since it was protected, but it was not always so well-known and loved. On this field we will explore some of the unique treasures of the Badlands discuss how to engage businesses in stewardship and wilderness protection and help provide a deeper understanding of the benefits of the recreation economy.




Questions?  Please contact Randy Welsh, Executive Director, National Wilderness Stewardship Alliance, at randy@wildernessalliance.org.

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