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arrow See the complete list of current Featured Training Providers.

arrow See currently scheduled training opportunities on the National Trails Training Partnership Calendar

arrow Send us your information and be listed a training provider

arrow Also see "Volunteer Stewardship Planning by the Outdoor Stewardship Institute"


About the Outdoor Stewardship Institute

photo of people digging

Young volunteers on a Volunteers for Outdoor
Colorado project

The Outdoor Stewardship Institute (OSI) is a stewardship training and support program operated by Volunteers for Outdoor Colorado.  OSI offers the following services to the larger stewardship community in Colorado and beyond: 

OSI provides high quality outdoor stewardship training to volunteers, land management agencies, and other stewardship organizations in Colorado and around the country.  Volunteers and staff from any agency can take advantage of OSI’s low-cost training courses to learn new skills and prepare for leadership roles.  OSI works with experts in the field to develop and teach in-depth curriculum covering topics such as:

• Conservation leadership/crew leading
• Trail building, maintenance, and restoration skills
• Ecological restoration
• Volunteer project management
• Working with youth

OSI courses are open to anyone.  We can also customize a contract training for specific agency needs in Colorado and beyond.

Sample of Skills Training Offered by OSI

Crew Leader Training – Trails or Ecological Restoration: The Outdoor Stewardship Institute offers a two day training program for crew leadership for agency volunteers and staff. This 16 hour workshop covers leadership, tool and crew safety, and technical skills in trail construction, maintenance and restoration. We also offer Crew Leader training for ecological restoration that follows the same format, but substitutes ER skills for trail skills. These workshops are best for individuals that have had some prior experience working on trail or ecological restoration projects or previous crew leadership experiences. Workshop length: two days.

Introduction to Trail Design: What is a clinometer and why do you need it to design sustainable trails? Learn this and more as you discuss potential design options, and work in small groups to practice designing a trail. Note: We strongly recommend that you have prior trail building experience before enrolling in this seminar. Workshop length: two days.

Trail Overview, Construction & Maintenance: Would you like to learn more about the basics of sustainable trail? Through lecture, demonstration and hands-on training, participants will get an overview of basic trail development, and skills to maintain and construct sustainable trails. Workshop length: one day

Rock Skills: Measure twice, dig once! Learn this and other important rules of thumb while mastering techniques to build rock retaining walls and steps that allow us to build a trail around obstacles, and stabilize and widen trail sections. Workshop length: one day.

Switchback Construction: What's the difference between a switchback and a climbing turn? Learn this and more as you work with a team to construct a switchback. In the process, you will also learn a great deal about constructing rock walls. Workshop length: one day.

Waterbars & Drainage Dips. Learn why waterbars help reduce and mitigate erosion problems, identify good places to install them, and construct one or more waterbars. Seminar length: 1/2 day.

Trail Closure & Revegetation: Learn techniques for closing and restoring unwanted trails, with the ultimate goal of making the trails disappear into the landscape. Learn how to restore the trail grade, stabilize the trail and surrounding area, and properly transplant soil and vegetation. Seminar length: 1/2 day.

What is the need?

Population growth pressures are increasing the demands placed on our public lands. Agency budgets are not keeping pace with increased growth and human impacts. Managers are becoming more reliant on trained volunteers to help fill a variety of important roles. A shortage of trained volunteers is preventing many important projects from being completed.

Why is volunteer training important?

Standardized training can provide the following benefits:
• A safe volunteer experience
• Increased productivity and output
• Leadership and supervision of volunteers by volunteers
• Project planning provided by volunteer groups
• Specialized training for technical assignments
• Increased agency acceptance of trained volunteers
• Standardized training for nonprofit and agency professionals

OSI provides volunteers with leadership training that is recognized and accepted by land managers. OSI creates volunteer leaders with the expertise to develop and organize new projects. These trained leaders have the capacity to oversee new volunteers on a variety of assignments. OSI helps to increase volunteer opportunities and provide a reliable pool of trained volunteers for the future of our public lands.

For information on the Outdoor Stewardship Institute, contact:

Volunteers for Outdoor Colorado, 600 S. Marion Pkwy, Denver, CO 80209 (303) 715-1010 - - Matt Martinez:


The National Trails Training Partnership

American Trails, P.O. Box 491797, Redding, CA 96049-1797 • (530) 547-2060 • Fax: (530) 605-4395 •

The National Trails Training Partnership is an alliance of Federal agencies, training providers, nationwide supporters, and providers of products and services. Visit the online calendar of training opportunities, access hundreds of trail-related resources, read the news, learn how you can help, and see training resources in your state.

This material is based upon work supported by the Federal Highway Administration under Cooperative Agreement DTFH61-06-H-00023. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the Author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the view of the Federal Highway Administration.



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