Nominations Sought for State Trail Designations

Madge on the TrailThe Oregon Recreation Trails Advisory Council (ORTAC) invites trail users to nominate additions to Oregon’s network of non-motorized, state designated trails. Nominations will be accepted through November 30, 2014.

The process defines two trail designation categories: Scenic and Regional. Scenic Trails can be single routes as short as a mile, or trails that combine with others to give access to “outstanding scenery and lasting memories for trail users.” They must be open to the public and be mostly complete.

Regional Trails must be longer than five miles and create close-to-home recreation opportunities. They also are defined as connectors linking communities, schools and recreation sites with significant scenic trails. Like Scenic Trails, they must lie on public land or public rights-of-way or easements.

“ORTAC’s intent is to have a statewide system of trails that showcases Oregon’s exceptional trail experiences in both rural and urban areas,” said Nancy Ream Enabnit, the chair of ORTAC. “We’re seeking nominations from all corners of the state to get the job done.”

In 2010 ORTAC and the Oregon Parks and Recreation Department streamlined the application process. Since that time the state has received seven new nominations, doubling the designated trail inventory since the program began in 1971. ORTAC’s goal is to make the process simpler and more accessible to trail advocates and land managers.

The council was established by the Legislature in 1971 to advise the Oregon Parks and Recreation Department and to promote non-motorized trail recreation and development in Oregon. The Council is made up of seven volunteer members appointed by the Oregon Park and Recreation Commission to represent the five Oregon congressional districts. The council meets four times annually in different locations across the state.

ORTAC’s website has links to a nomination form and to the Oregon Recreation Trails Designation Program handbook, which includes criteria and timelines. Go to http://www.oregon.gov/oprd/Trail_Programs_Services/Pages/Trails-Designation-Programs.aspx.

Comment Request: Letz Ride Environmental Assessment

We wanted to pass on this letter from the United States Department of the Interior/Bureau of Land Management


 

Dear Citizen,

ScopingLetterMapThe Bureau of Land Management (BLM), Eugene District Office, Siuslaw Resource Area is in the process of initiating preliminary planning for the Letz Ride Environmental Assessment (EA) (see Letz Ride scoping map) located at T. 20 S.; R. 5 W.; Sections 23, 27 and 35, W.M. We are seeking external scoping comments through public participation.

The Letz Ride EA will be in conformance with the Eugene District 1995 Resource Management Plan (RMP). The forest management actions being considered are commercial thinning within matrix (connectivity) land use allocations and density management within Riparian Reserve land use allocations, and road renovation/construction, culvert replacements and road decommissioning.

The thinning area is situated within the Oregon Coast Range within second growth coniferous forests. Section 35 is part of northern spotted owl designated critical habitat. The three sections being considered for implementation of a thinning project also encompasses the carpenter bypass trail system. An EA was prepared for implementation of trail improvement projects; the decision record for this EA was signed on July 26, 2013. We would like to hear from you about concerns and issues that you may have about the forest management actions being proposed. An interdisciplinary team has been tasked with issue resolution, alternative development and analysis. Your feedback will be enormously useful for the team as we consider forest management actions in the area.

Please submit your comments in writing prior to October 10, 2014 to the following address; 3106 Pierce Parkway, Suite E, Springfield OR 97477-7910, addressed to Sharmila Premdas, phone number (541) 683-6794. Please contact her with questions you may have as well. Email comments will also be accepted, the subject line should mention the Letz Ride EA. Email Address: BLM_OR_EU_Mail@blm.gov.

Thank you for your interest in the management of your public lands.

Sincerely

/S/ Michael J. Korn

Michael J. Korn
Field Manager
Siuslaw Resource Area

Douglas Trail Connector Completed (East Clackamas County)

Riders provided help with scouting placement of the new trail, and supplying volunteers.   Curtis recruited college students to cut the path that marked where the new connector was to be built.  McKenzie Jensen, Zigzag Ranger District, worked with an excavator operator to put in the rough tread.  TKO supplied tools, water, a kitchen, and dinner Friday and Saturday night for volunteers. DouglasConnectorTrail Crew

The main volunteer portion of the work took place July 25-27 under sunny skies.  Thirty volunteers from TKO, OET, BCHO and several other organizations showed up to get the entire half-mile of new trail completed in just one weekend.

Douglas Trailhead provides access to Douglas #781, McTyre Ridge #782, Plaza #783 and Eagle Creek #501 trails, all in the Salmon-Huckleberry Wilderness, Mt. Hood National Forest.  Throw in a few more trails and you have a 26 mile loop.  At this time not all of the trails in the loop have been cleared.  BCHO Territorial Riders rode the three miles of Upper Douglas, and then about two miles on Plaza for a fun ride August 2.  There is a very nice viewpoint by a bench just a short distance from Upper Douglas Trail on the McTyre Ridge Trail.

A BIG thank you to volunteers Susie Little and Glen Kendall, Marty and Delores DeVall, Chris Jones, Tim Lagasse, Barb and Dave Adams

Are Our Campgrounds Being Overtaken by Non-equine Campers?

HorseParkingOnlySignBITSThere is a growing concern that non-equine campers have discovered campgrounds or sites that are intended for use only by campers with equines. As a result, these campgrounds are filling with non-equine campers, leaving campers with equines with no place to stay.

It’s important that we collect information about specific events, so that we can truly assess the impact of this situation. If you’ve experienced this situation, please complete this survey.

If you have experienced more than one incident, please complete a new survey for each incident.

IMPORTANT: Complete this survey only if you were witness to the incident. Do not complete this survey for incidents you heard about second hand.

Please complete the survey >

Check Out These Easy Highline Tips

Need some help with your highline? Check out these tips from TrailMeister.com.

Summer vacation on the Pacific Crest Trail!

PCTAThe Pacific Crest Trail Association’s (PCTA) Skyline and Sasquatch crews offer week-long volunteer vacations on the Pacific Crest Trail in Northern Oregon and Southern Washington. These crews supplement the work of PCTA’s regular maintainers by tackling major tread erosion problems.

Join for the full week of just a few days. All food is provided. Backpack into a wilderness campsite with the assistance of pack animals, and enjoy a day off in the middle of the tour to lounge around camp or explore the beautiful area on your own. Trips are led by experienced PCTA and U.S. Forest Service staff. No prior trail work experience is necessary.

Check out the PCTA project schedule for more information.

My OET Story: Cathy and Mike Stuhr

Eleven years ago, my husband and I moved to Oregon so I could start a horse boarding stable and he could keep his “real” job. As my husband likes to say, “When you own a stable, someone has to keep their day job.” Guess he got elected.

We originally joined OET not long after we moved here, but we found the demands of the stable and other commitments kept us from participating. As a result, we let our membership lapse – gasp! The demands of the stable and life in general haven’t leveled off in 12 years, but we figured it was time to get involved in a meaningful way.

Part of our philosophy is to give back to the community. Participating in OET is one way  we can do that. We are also hoping that the connections and friendships we make in OET will motivate us to also get out and ride on a regular basis – something we have found really difficult to do in the past 12 years.

We enjoy the outdoor work and camaraderie, and we look forward to lots of adventures with the dedicated folks in the West Valley Chapter.

Cathy and Mike Stuhr
West Valley Chapter

Want to share your OET story? Email it to vpmarketing@oregonequestriantrails.org.

My OET Story: Valerie Lantz

Valerie Lantz

Valerie cooking a tasty meal for a Back Country Horseman (BCH) packing crew. Many OET members also belong to BCH.

I’ve reached an age that may identify me as an old-timer, especially since my husband, Glenn, and I joined OET in 1977.  I heard about OET in 1974, when I completed a student project for a BLM trail study.

Early in 1978, Earl Flick, OET founder, invited me to attend the annual meeting. He and Les Bernard, another founding member, gave me a ride to the meeting in Albany. I remember feeling privileged that the two revered, white-haired gentlemen escorted me, a young member, to the annual meeting.

Through the 1980’s and 90’s, I was a very active OET member who served in several leadership roles. I attended many OET work parties, meetings, and rides throughout those years. I loved the people, the food, the horses, the camps, and every campfire.  I remain proud of helping start a new chapter in the 90’s, then known as the Columbia Gorge (now the Mt. Hood Chapter).

My work placed me in a unique position that involved trail planning in the METRO Greenspaces program. I helped put trails on the map that include equine trail opportunities today. I represented equestrians on the Oregon Recreational Trails Advisory Council (ORTAC) from 1991 to 1999. Making recommendations about trails and trail issues to the State of Oregon Parks Commission provided me an opportunity to see trails in all parts of Oregon.

A new job took me from Sandy to Klamath Falls in 2002. No OET Chapter existed in Klamath Falls. I and others tried starting a new OET Chapter but found the High Desert Trail Riders a long established group that associated with the Back Country Horsemen of Oregon. It was a classic case of “if you can’t beat ‘em, then join ‘em.“ I had thought for some time that OET and BCH should coordinate and collaborate on more projects. With membership in both organizations, I learned more about collaborative possibilities. In 2006, my husband and I were honored to become Honorary Lifetime Members of OET.

Another move happened in 2007. This time, we ended up across the state line, in Alturas, California. I joined the local BCHC group, the High Country Unit, but remained an OET member. I’ve served in several leadership roles for the High Country Unit as I explored the Warner Mountains. Every once in a while, I’d load up my horse and head north to ride Oregon trails. Glenn and I now have our Alturas place up for sale with the intent to return to Oregon. Maybe the coast this time. Meanwhile, I sure like OET Trail Mail and the Riders Roundup!

Valerie Lantz
Honorary Member
Founder of the Mt. Hood Chapter (formerly known as the Columbia Gorge Chapter)

Want to share your OET story? Email it to vpmarketing@oregonequestriantrails.org.

My OET Story: Judy Knutson

Jodi Knutson at saw certification clinic

Jodi Knutson becoming a certified sawyer.

I happened upon the OET booth at the Oregon State Fair.  I loved to trail ride and was looking for some others like me who enjoyed the wilderness and the trails.  I had also noticed the trails were often blocked by downed trees, and it was getting more and more difficult to find places to trail ride, especially away from the crowds.

The people manning the OET booth enlightened me to the fact that the federal agencies were experiencing funding shortages that translated to fewer paid people out there clearing the trails.  If we, as equestrians, wanted the trails to stay open for riding, we should volunteer to help clear and maintain them.  I joined immediately.  This sounded perfect for me.  I feel very proud to donate my time and energies to such a worth while cause.

At first, I was worried. What could I do, since I was just one lady?

Once I joined and met the wonderful people in OET, I realized a lot can be accomplished when you work with a group.  I was hooked.  I started attending the trail skills colleges put on by the Pacific Crest Trail Association and the Forest Service.  I was so happy to learn how to use crosscut saws and get certified as a crosscut sawyer.  I was lucky to have a patient and skilled mentor for our trail boss: Joel Starr.

 The work part of the work party can be as strenuous or as easy as each individual wishes. 

It is just as important to have the sawyers along as it is to have the swampers, the stock baby sitters, and the people back in camp preparing the wonderful food for the potluck.  Everyone is free to contribute it any way that is comfortable to them.  Even just donating or paying dues or the very important part of holding an office and doing the work from a desk instead of out on the trails or in the camps.  That is what makes OET so wonderful.

 For me, the thing I like best is clearing trails. 

I like to work hard and use it as my free version of a gym membership.  I get to build muscles, lose calories, and see the grand views of our wilderness.  I’m not sure how to beat that.  Plus the feeling of achievement. Knowing I’m doing something so valuable.  I have made many wonderful friends with folks in my chapter, in other chapters, and with the land managers we work with. Plus, there are even some friends who recreate in other forms on our trails I can now call friends.  It’s amazing what can be accomplished when we all work together!

Jodi Knutson
Mid-Valley Chapter

Want to share your OET story? Email it to vpmarketing@oregonequestriantrails.org.

Equestrians: BLM Wants Your Input on 20-year Public Land Management Plans

BLM-RMPThe Bureau of Land Management (BLM) is coming to your community to share information on how your public lands in Western Oregon will be managed for the next 20 years, and they want to year your thoughts and ideas. 

The BLM is interested in engaging in dialogue with community partners, cooperating agencies, federal and state agencies, and the general public to have a conversation about the BLM-administered lands in western Oregon and how we can all work together. 

Let’s ensure that equestrians are heard!

Attend one of these meetings to share your concerns and ideas on the use of the public lands:

  • Coos Bay: Tuesday, March 11
  • Eugene: Wednesday, March 5
  • Medford: Wednesday, March 12
  • Klamath Falls: Thursday, March 13
  • Portland: Monday, March 3
  • Roseburg: Monday, March 10
  • Salem: Thursday, March 6

Meetings will be held from 5:00 to 8:30 p.m. Locations have not been announced. 

For more information, visit the BLM website.

View the Resource Management Plans (RMP) for Western Oregon (PDF).