Howard Rondthaler (R) in the Lookout
Rondy began his tenure with the USFS in 1949, taking summer work on the Estacada District. Five summers later, after graduating from Reed College with a degree in History, he accepted full-time employment with the Forest Service.
"They made it so attractive I had to accept. I like to hike." 1
Thirty years later, Rondy retired from a job he had taken to heart, working on the 850 miles of trails in the entire Mt. Hood National Forest in northern Oregon state. He loved the jobs he did, seeing that the trails were well-located and in good condition in order to attract more people to his favorite form of recreation: hiking.
"I find places to put new trails, search for old trails we can reclaim, survey them, and see that they're built to standard." 2
His work often required cross-country travel, hiking off the trails while looking for an old trail or a better placement for a current trail.
"It's such a joy to crash through the woods and touch new ground, because you may be standing where no one has ever been before." 3
Rondy's pleasure in his job caring for the trails system was apparent in his willingness to lead weekend work groups during his personal time, taking members of outdoor-oriented groups such as the Mazamas and the Sierra Club to volunteer their time improving his beloved trails. He spent many hours on the Gumjuwac Trail near Mt. Hood, leading groups of Youth Conservation Corps teenagers as they rebuilt the trail to be more enjoyable for average hikers, reducing the number of switchbacks and adding a magnificent viewpoint from the top of a ridge.
Rondy was the heart and soul of the trails system in the entire Mt. Hood National Forest for 30 years. His commitment to creating the best possible trails for all hikers to enjoy has left a lasting legacy. He gave his time, his knowledge and his creativity so that generations can enjoy well-built trails for years to oome.
We feel the greatest way to honor Rondy is to name a trail in "his" forest after him. Please sign our petition asking the USFS to approve "The Rondy Trail" in his memory.
1 "Oregon job bet pays off in hikes galore", by Jim Running, The Oregonian, 3/5/84
2 "Mountain trail blazer has wily way in woods", by Karen McCowan, The Oregonian, date unknown
3 "Oregon job bet pays off in hikes galore", by Jim Running, The Oregonian, 3/5/84