Work in the Columbia River Gorge has changed dramatically for Trailkeepers of Oregon since September 2, 2017. On Labor Day weekend we saw the Eagle Creek Fire race across some of the most highly prized scenic sites and hiking terrain in Oregon. Over the following weeks the fire grew to encompass nearly 49,000 acres, leaving a mosaic pattern of different severities of burned landscape and closing 121 miles of trails.
Along the Clackamas River between Oregon City and Estacada, 951-acre Milo McIver State Park has historically had a single trail connecting its upper and lower northern sections. Because frequent slides and the resulting repairs temporarily closed the Vortex Loop hillside section of the trail almost every year the past few years, Oregon State Parks was given grant funding to create a new, more sustainable trail. It would begin at a new Milo McIver Memorial Viewpoint overlooking the Clackamas River with views of Mount Hood and Mount Adams, and end near a meadow in the lower northern section of the park. Park Ranger John Hilbert contacted TKO Crew Leader Elaine Keavney about the possibility of TKO volunteers leading the trail-building project. Pat and Elaine Keavney met with the ranger several times in early September 2016 to flag the proposed route.
In the 1970s and 1980s, photographer Don Lowe and writer Roberta Lowe published the first trail guides for hiking in Oregon. Their series of hiking guidebooks opened trails throughout Oregon for a generation of hikers. On a rainy afternoon in November, Michael McDowell and John Sparks sat down with Roberta Lowe to discuss the outdoor career she and her husband Donald pursued. Responses have been edited for concision and clarity.
When winter snow has buried your favorite trails at high elevations, the Riverside National Recreation Trail #723 along the Clackamas River offers a great alternative. At 1,500 feet elevation, the trail is accessible during most of the winter except when the snow level has dropped very low. With a rushing river, creek crossings, towering trees, and a mossy forest, this hike will whet your appetite during the wet days of winter, but not overly tax you. The four-mile-long trail follows the river between Rainbow and Riverside campgrounds, but the Riverside Trailhead around the midway point is a good starting point for this hike.
Much of the North Fork John Day River Wilderness is a resurrected landscape, especially along its watercourses, and still recovering from placer mining operations that sifted entire stream beds and blasted away hillsides from the 1860s into the 1950s.
The Bagby Hot Springs Trail #544 is one of a number of trails that once led to the 136-degree pools above the Hot Springs Fork of the Collawash River. American Indians had long known about and used the hot springs along the Hot Springs Fork when prospector Robert Bagby visited the site in 1881 following a rough sign with an arrow labeled “Hell.”Continue reading Hot Springs in the Forest→
There’s a back way into the Olallie Lake Scenic Area, and it requires the relief of driving decent gravel for less than a mile as compared to the dusty, sometimes spine-shattering washboard experience of getting in to the often crowded shores of Olallie Lake itself. The semi-secret is the Red Lake Trail #719. The hike does require a little elevation gain up the escarpment above the Clackamas River, but it delivers you to a series of backcountry lakes with camp spots—Red, Averill, Wall, Sheep, and Fork lakes—which are some of the less-visited in the area. In fact, the trail still exhibits some of the old varnished trail signs of a past age and even one marker referencing the Skyline Trail, precursor to the Pacific Crest Trail!Continue reading Hike of the Season: Potato Butte→
Geri Marz joined Trailkeepers about a year ago. She’s volunteered weekly almost ever since joining, and put in many volunteer days over the past winter, spring, and summer on a trail crew building the new Viewpoint Trail at Milo McIver State Park. John Sparks and Michael McDowell met with her in August to discuss her TKO volunteering.Continue reading Volunteer Spotlight: Geri Marz→
In its 2017 session, the Oregon legislature passed a pair of bills that created a new “Office of Outdoor Recreation” and established the first Saturday in June as “Outdoor Recreation Day.” Trailkeepers of Oregon partnered with the Mazamas, Oregon Wild, the Sierra Club, and other outdoor groups to support passage of the bills. Representative Ken Helm (D-Beaverton), a TKO member and co-sponsor of the “Office of Outdoor Recreation” bill, says he hopes the new legislation will help the Oregon Parks and Recreation Department better promote and support outdoor organizations like TKO.Continue reading Oregon Creates an “Office of Outdoor Recreation”→
Join ORTAC for their fall meeting and hear updates on State Parks’ trail activities throughout Oregon. ORTAC serves in an advisory role to the Parks Commission and Oregon Parks and Recreation Department.
Central Oregon Trails Alliance and Northwest Trails Alliance present the 2017 Oregon MTB Community Summit. There will be panelists and discussions on a variety of topics as we work together as a community in order to plot the future of mountain biking in Oregon!
Join TKO for a day of stewardship, partnering with local land managers and trail advocates on a trail nearby Bend. Register on the Summit registration site.
Contact Stephanie Noll email@example.com with questions about the Summit or to learn about sponsorship opportunities. We are not able to offer a refund of your Summit registration, but we are happy to transfer your registration to another individual if you are unable to attend.
We do not want the registration cost of the summit to be a barrier to any volunteer trail advocates. If you need a scholarship to make your attendance possible, please fill out this short application and we’ll be in touch: https://goo.gl/forms/xsrU92xdvVMwBHyE2
Breakfast and lunch will include vegetarian, vegan, and gluten-free options. If you have further dietary needs, please plan accordingly and know you’re welcome to bring your own food.
The Oregon Statewide Trails Coalition is being planned by a committee of public agency, non-profit, and private sector trails enthusiasts. Sponsorship opportunities are available! Contact Steph at 503-290-4569 or firstname.lastname@example.org for more info.