The Smith Rock Group has been operating the Smith Rock Spring Thing Volunteer Day since 1993, attracting about 200 people each year.
This event is focused on Smith Rock projects developed by volunteers and park staff. For over 20 years they have conducted many projects throughout the park.
This year's event was held on Saturday, April 28, with over 250 volunteers working on projects throughout the park from 8:00 AM, concluding with their famous burrito dinner, auction, and raffle starting around 5:00 PM. Parking passes, breakfast snacks, water, sunscreen, work gloves, tools, supplies, free camping at The Bivy, and dinner were provided for all volunteers.
The Smith Rock Spring Thing is organized and coordinated by the Smith Rock Group. It's a grass roots, all-volunteer, non-profit organization with 501(c)3 status.
The non-profit group's materials, supplies and tools for projects are raised from donations from participants in the yearly raffle and silent auction. They are pleased to work in cooperation with the Oregon Parks and Recreation Department and be a part of the Access Fund Adopt-A-Crag Program and American Alpine Club Cornerstone Grant.
Each year volunteers eagerly show up bright and early to repair well-worn trails. Recently Smith Rock has seen a huge increase in visits, most likely due to the Travel Oregon 7 Wonders of Oregon ads, the warm and dry winter and the improving economy. The result? Trails have been seeing heavy impacts. The Spring Thing volunteers answered the call to tackle some of the worst sections.
Some of the past projects included replacing 25-year-old wooden steps, rebuilding rock walls, cleaning out water drainage on trails, repairing fences, prepping for a new bike parking area pulling weeds and working in the camping area. In the evening, after the event, the Smith Rock Group hosts dinner, with a slideshow and prizes for the volunteers. Oregon State Parks also contributes, with staff working from Smith Rock, The Cove and Tumalo state parks. BLM Staff jumps in too, helping on projects on neighboring BLM Land. Huge thanks to everyone who help each year and all the previous years!