Central Oregon Oregon Equestrian Trails(OET) and East Cascades Back Country Horsemen (ECBCH) are very pleased to announce that the Metolius-Windigo Trail has been awarded the designation as an official Oregon Scenic Trail. OET has been working on obtaining this designation for the past two years, and it’s great to see our iconic trail being recognized in this way.
This over 100-mile trail begins near the Mt. Jefferson Wilderness west of Sisters and runs to Windigo Pass south of Crescent Lake. The trail was created around 1980 by linking sections of existing trails, primarily to serve long-distance horse riders seeking an alternative to the Pacific Crest Trail #2000 (PCT).
Due to its lower elevation, this trail is snow-free longer and has fewer mosquitoes than higher elevation trails. The trail passes through a wide variety of scenic terrain and forest types.
Because the Metolius-Windigo trail is made up of segments of various trails and crosses many roads, junctions are marked with MW logo blazers, and interspersed with yellow diamonds.
Also, Oregon Equestrian Trails(OET) has been awarded a Recreational Trails Program grant for $18,500 to buy and install a new vault toilet at Sisters Cow Camp!!! Wahoo!!! With the money we have already raised, we now have enough money to get the toilet. We’ll be working with the Forest Service next summer to get the toilet purchased, delivered, and installed. A big thank you is owed to Pat Marquis, who got the ball rolling on this project, and to Pat, Rhonda, Suzanne, and Diana, who helped edit and proofread the grant application.
OET members have been working on these two really significant trail projects for years and everything has finally come together. These accomplishments are the result of a lot of work, tenacity and belief in the projects.
ECBCH President, Pat Marquis and Rhonda Marquis pressed the need for the Sisters Cow Camp Outhouse through every possible angle from the earliest meetings with the Deschutes NF when things were looking pretty grim. There were many obstacles. But they studied and tried every angle. They put together numerous events to get donations and support for the project. ECBCH made significant contributions to the effort as well as many individual members. The deciding action was that Pat applied for a Recreation Trails Program (RTP) Grant and it was approved. To give you an update on that RTP Grant program, it is the program that is administered by Oregon State Parks to distribute funds budgeted by the Federal Highway Administration budget to the states. There are very stringent requirements for the use of that money and it is guided heavily by the two required State recreation plans, the 5 year Statewide Comprehensive Outdoor Recreation Plan (SCORP 2013-2017) and the Statewide Trails Plan that is in the spotlight right now. the RPT program is THE most important source of funds for trail projects that affect us as equestrian trail riders. The application process for grants is grueling.
Much thanks to Central Oregon Oregon Equestrian Trails and East Cascades Back Country Horsemen members for all their hard work.