Voluntourism in Bend, Oregon

Volunteer Opportunities

Volunteer Opportunites in Bend

Bend has a lot of special places. It also has a lot of people who give back to these special places so that they stay beautiful for generations to come. Even as a visitor, you can get involved by volunteering a little time and energy.

Why volunteer on your vacation? Volunteer travel or voluntourism provides visitors with a meaningful way to give back to the places they visit and leave it better than they found it. Read on for a few ways that you can get involved in local volunteering on your next visit to Bend. We thank you, in advance, for caring about these special places.

Don’t have time to incorporate volunteer work into your stay? You can give back to Bend by making a donation to the Bend Sustainability Fund. Your donation will go directly to the organizations that are working to protect the places and spaces that are special to our Bend community.

Cleanups with Wanderlust Tours

Bend is home to hundreds of enchanting caves, lava tubes, and dozens of sparkling lakes. But did you know that these natural wonders need your help to stay clean? As outdoor enthusiasts like you and I use these spaces as our playgrounds, it’s important that we do our part to preserve these habitats.

Luckily, Wanderlust Tours, a local company offering expert-guided tours, has stepped up to help. They organize an annual Cave Cleanup in the spring and a Cascade Lakes Cleanup in the fall because they care deeply about the natural areas in and around Bend. With our collective efforts, we can ensure that the diverse vegetation and wildlife, from bats and birds to otters, have a clean and healthy home.

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Cave cleanup in Bend, OR

Smith Rock Spring Thing

Smith Rock State Park is one of the most popular state parks in all of Oregon, and for good reason. Rock climbers have been flocking to the umber colored walls of Smith Rock since the beginning of sport climbing, but its offerings don’t stop there. With miles of hiking trails leading to vistas worthy of million dollar views, the Crooked River carving through the park, and even a campground, Smith Rock State Park has something for everyone.

Each spring, over 200 volunteers get together for the annual Smith Rock Spring Thing, an organized event that gathers climbers, hikers, and lovers of the park to give back through trail work, trash pickup, and fix stairs, among other projects. Volunteers are rewarded with a most excellent party afterwards, but more importantly, the good feeling that you helped to keep a special place so very special.

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smith rock spring thing, near Bend, OR

Trail Love

Bend is home to nearly 300 miles of singletrack trails that you can access right from your hotel or vacation rental. Bend’s trails are worthy of such accolades as ‘Bike Town USA’ from Mountain Bike Magazine, and the home of Bike Magazine’s Bike Bible. There’s only one thing better than mountain biking in Bend, OR and that’s riding in Bend, knowing that you helped build and maintain the trails you love. Meet up with 100 of your closest riding buddies and spend the morning working on our local trails!

Central Oregon Trail Alliance builds and maintains nearly all of the mountain bike trails in Central Oregon and they can always use help.

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Trail love in Bend, OR

Deschutes River Cleanup

The Deschutes River is important to every part of Bend’s economy. From the water it delivers to farmers, to the fish who call it home, the river is a way of life in Bend. For these reasons, river lovers come together every spring to clean up and give back to the river, as part of the annual Deschutes River Cleanup.

This past year,  200 dedicated volunteers came out to clean up our river, and removed 1,400 pounds of garbage from the river and its banks! From divers to paddlers to shoreline hikers, we collected 67 bags of litter and weeds from the riparian area and 25 bags of instream debris. This year we can do even better, with your help.

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Deschutes River Clean up in Bend, OR

Stewardship with Oregon Natural Desert Association

The Oregon Natural Desert Association (ONDA) invites you to join their stewardship expeditions across the Oregon high desert. Restore riparian areas along the Crooked River for a day or hike through the magnificent Steens Mountain while lending a hand to clean up and maintain the trails. ONDA offers a range of year-round volunteer opportunities, from one-day to multi-day excursions, to weekends spent in the backcountry. There are multiple registration times, but sign up early as trips fill up fast with eager volunteers. Join the ONDA team in protecting and preserving the natural lands and waters of Oregon’s high desert. Your contributions will make a positive impact on the environment and leave you with unforgettable memories.

Get involved with ONDA
Volunteer with Oregon Natural Desert Association

Public Land Stewards

Welcome to Bend, Oregon, where outdoor enthusiasts can truly find their paradise! However, to keep this natural playground clean and accessible, we need to work together. That’s where Public Land Stewards come in. They are a local nonprofit organization helping keep our public lands protected and accessible by hosting massive cleanup events in Central Oregon and supporting other groups looking to do the same in their communities. With organized cleanups happening from spring to fall, you have the chance to be a part of something truly impactful. In the past, they’ve removed up to 100,000 pounds of trash from areas like China Hat Road, and they continue to make a remarkable difference.

Volunteer with PLS
Trail runners on Bessie Butte near Bend, OR