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Pick Ax

Volunteers- Make Trails Happen!


Volunteer efforts are an essential element for the success of MERA. Volunteers have contributed in the purchase and development of MERA as well as the continued management and maintenance. Without volunteer participation, the system would not exist nor would it be able to continue. Volunteers have been responsible for building new trails, maintaining existing trails, installing signage, weed control, tree planting, map development, web development, photography, water development, spring enhancement, aspen restoration, trash clean-up, scout projects, and many more.

Most of the grant funding that the County has received in the past and will receive in the future will require some level of in-kind service match. A large portion of the match will be fulfilled through volunteer efforts. The system cannot survive without the continued participation and support of volunteers. 

Joins us at our annual spring clean events in May and June, see our events page. Contact Josh Ford or these MERA trails stewards;  Eastern Oregon ATV (EOATV), the Blue Mountains Singletrack Trails Club (BMSTC), or the Back Country Horsemen of Oregon for more volunteer opportunities.

Countless volunteers and partners have contributed to the MERA project since before its inception and continue stronger than ever today. To all of who have given and continue to give…Thank-you!

Advisory Committee


Shortly after acquisition, the Union County Board of Commissioners formed and appointed two Mt. Emily Recreation Area Advisory Committees comprised of motorized users, non-motorized users, and resource oriented management agencies.  The Advisory Committees provide a public forum and make recommendations on planning, development, management and maintenance to the County Board of Commissioners who make the final decision. The advisory committees and County staff developed the MERA Master Plan to assist the County appointed MERA Coordinator in the management of MERA. The advisory committee are volunteers who meet approximately every three months or as needed and meetings are open to the public. Check the Union County website for a posting of the upcoming meeting date.  Meetings are held at 1106 K Avenue, La Grande, OR in the Joseph Building, large conference room where commission meetings are held.


             Name                     Representing                                  

  • Aric Johnson - United States Forest Service                              

  • JB Brock - Oregon Department of Forestry                    

  • John Paustian -  Oregon Department of Fish & Wildlife                    

  • Ian Caldwell – Oregon State Parks & Recreation                            

  • Vacant– Livestock Grazing Lessee                                

  • Cody Anderson – Class I ATVs                                            

  • Alexander Sealey – Class II ATVs/Chairman                          

  • Mark Barber – Class III ATVs                                       

  • Bill Gerst – Class IV ATVs                                        

  • Doug Hislop – General Public

  • Jordan Ray - General Public

  • Vacant - General Public                                   



            Name                      Representing                                   

  • Aric Johnson – United States Forest Service                                

  • JB Brock – Oregon Department of Forestry                         

  • Jon Paistian – Oregon Department of Fish & Wildlife                      

  • Ian Caldwell – Oregon State Parks & Recreation                            

  • Vacant – Livestock Grazing Lessee                               

  • Sean Lerner - Bicyclist                                           

  • Katrina Gaines – Hiker/Chairman                                     

  • Elaine La Rochelle - Equestrian                                

  • Norm Paullus – Grande Ronde Bowman                                    

  • Forest Warren – General Public                                     

  • Chris Evans– General Public                                      

  • Tyler Brooks – General Public      


Thank-you, Volunteers!

Read the story here!

Applications Accepted for MERA Committees

The Union County Board of Commissioners are accepting applications from qualified volunteers interested in serving on the Mt. Emily Recreation Area Motorized and Non-Motorized Advisory Committees. The purpose of these committees is to represent the interests of the public related to development, operations and maintenance of MERA by making recommendations to the Commissioners with regards to motorized and non-motorized usage.

Open positions include representations for one Motorized member representing the general public. On the Non-motorized committee the position to represent the Grande Ronde Bowman is open. Application must be submitted by January 15th, 2024.

Applications may be submitted to the Union County Administrative Office at 1106 K Avenue, La Grande.

Photos provided by Mark Barber, Ty Bowen & Sean Chambers

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