Deliver Benefits to the Public

Hitting the trail with Latino Outdoors

Three kids study trail map on informational sign board.
The excitement of deciding which trail to use first keeps three kids glued to the map at Tumalo Falls. USDA Forest Service photo by Kathryn Dawson.
Hiking group pauses by the river.
Open to hikers of all ages and abilities, Latino Outdoors attracts a diverse group. While hiking up to Tumalo Falls, the group stopped along the river. USDA Forest Service photo by Kathryn Dawson.

 

OREGON—Meeting up for the trip of a lifetime, an excited group of parents, family members and children of all ages joined Latino Outdoors of Central Oregon for a guided and interpretive hike to Tumalo Falls.

Zavi Borja passes another hiker along the trail.
As the group’s leader, Zavi Borja makes sure everyone is having a good time. USDA Forest Service photo by Kathryn Dawson.

Located just outside of Bend on the Deschutes National Forest, the Tumalo Falls trailhead can be a busy and intimidating place for those who don’t spend much time outdoors. But thanks to the efforts of people like Zavier ‘Zavi’ Borja, groups like Latino Outdoors have been making inroads in helping people to feel more comfortable with being outside and using their public lands.

“This is our second outing,” Borja explained as the group made their way up the trail. “It’s a good baby step, a good beginning, and that’s why I chose this [place]; because you drive up, you see a beautiful waterfall, and you can go up another two miles and see Double Falls.”

As everybody hiked together on the way up to Double Falls, the conversation turned to the future: of mountain biking, rock climbing and camping.

“On the first outing I was kind of picking their brains,” said Borja. “What would you like to see from this type of program?  

“And they wanted an introduction to camping,” he said. “We’re afraid. We don’t know how to, or what we might need.”

But that’s the beauty of having these kind of group events, because they encourage conversation, curiosity and discovery that, when done right, can lead to a lifetime love of all things outdoors.

“And for me that’s the greatest thing,” Borja concluded as the group bounded toward the waterfall. “I just want to get more folks in outdoor spaces and to feel comfortable.

To know that it’s here, and that it’s just as much theirs as it is anybody else’s.”

For more information, visit the Latino Outdoors website.
 

Two kids look out over the river at an overlook along the trail.
Topping off the hike are million dollar views that can be had for the price of a daily recreation pass — or for free, for all fourth-graders and their families, with a pass from the Every Kid Outdoors program. USDA Forest Service photo by Kathryn Dawson.
Two kids give each other bunny ears while stopped at a scenic overlook.
Two kids are all smiles (and bunny ears) when stopping to take in the view. USDA Forest Service photo by Kathryn Dawson.