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Want to get wild in Bend? Here’s how!

mountain biking

Let’s say you spend a day in Bend. You enjoy a morning of mountain biking on Phil’s Trail, followed by a hike at Tumalo Falls. Your cost for this day of recreation bliss? Free. 

Signs explaining Pledge for the Wild are popping up all over Bend, including this one in the Bend Visitor Center.

Okay, there’s gas involved, and maybe a day-use parking fee. But for the most part, you get access to stunning, well-marked trails without ever getting a chance to help support the maintenance and preservation of those awesome areas.

Until now.


What’s Pledge for the Wild?

There’s a trend in the travel world where visitors are looking for ways to give back to special places they love. Visiting a cool wilderness area is one thing, but actively investing in making sure it’s there for generations to come? That’s next-level awesome.

That’s what Pledge for the Wild is all about. It’s sustainable tourism at its best, starting with five U.S. mountain towns making it easier for tourists to open their hearts and digital wallets in support of wild places.

Participating cities have taken stock of which land managers and nonprofits are working to protect the wild places in their community. From there, Pledge for the Wild towns are creating direct channels for visitors to support those organizations through online donations or text-to-donate.

Hiking is one of Bend’s most popular activities, but trail maintenance comes at a cost.


Why do we need this?

It’s no secret that funding for the Forest Service has been slashed to bits in recent years. That leaves a lot fewer resources devoted to things like trail maintenance. Sadly, there’s no such thing as a trail fairy who magically trims brush and removes fallen logs from your hiking path, and the aforementioned parking fees don’t quite cut it. That’s why  nonprofit groups have jumped in to help tackle these tasks, and we’re supporting them with Pledge for the Wild.


Who gets the money in Bend?

In Bend, the land manager receiving the funds will be the Deschutes Trails Coalition. They’re a phenomenal local nonprofit group dedicated to creating a sustainable trail system in the Deschutes National Forest. They do everything from volunteer trail maintenance work to public education about responsible trail use, and they’re totally freakin’ amazing. 

How do I try it out?

To use the text-to-donate feature, just text 44-321 and use the code WILD4BEND. From there, you can walk through the easy-peasy system to donate using your credit card or ApplePay.


What other towns are involved?

The program launched June 2019 with five Western mountain towns that tend to attract an outdoorsy sort of traveler.

Tourism agencies in Bend, Oregon; Bozeman, Montana; Steamboat Springs, Colorado; Flagstaff, Arizona; and South Lake Tahoe, California & Nevada, are the founding cities for Pledge for the Wild, though more may join in the future.

Bend Pledge Sunset

Taking The Bend Pledge is another way you can help support Bend’s wild places.


Er, how much should I give?

It’s totally up to you! Even donations as small as a dollar can make a difference. One option is to add up all the time you spent recreating outdoors in Bend, then donate a buck for each hour. Not only is it a simple system to use, it’s a great way to look back over all the fun things you’ve done on your Bend vacation.


How can I learn more?

To discover more about Pledge for the Wild, visit


I should get a prize for reading this whole blog post

You totally should!

How about this—since Pledge for the Wild is basically a next-level extension of our Visit Like a Local program, and The Bend Pledge is part of that, let’s kick off a contest there.

Having a HydroFlask is a good way to avoid leaving waste behind on the trails, and we’d like to help you win a free one!

Take The Bend Pledge now, and not only will you be entered to win a fabulous Bend vacation, you’ll also be entered in a blog-readers-only contest for a HydroFlask and a $50 gift card for Crux Fermentation Project. Pretty awesome, right?

If you want 5 extra entries in the drawing, bust out your phone right now and do a text-to-donate in any amount to support Pledge for the Wild.

Comment on this post to let us know which things you’ve done (and yep, we’re gonna check, so make sure you share what name you used).

We’ll draw a winner on Thursday, August 1. Happy pledging, everyone!


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