Outdoors

Forest crews hacking through Blue Mountains blowdowns

Myles Heistad, left, and Scott Wolff hike the trail along the North Fork of Asotin Creek before buds have opened on trees and plants in the foothills of the Blue Mountains of southeastern Washington. (Rich Landers)
Myles Heistad, left, and Scott Wolff hike the trail along the North Fork of Asotin Creek before buds have opened on trees and plants in the foothills of the Blue Mountains of southeastern Washington. (Rich Landers)

TRAILS – A November storm left a nasty surprise for Forest Service trail crews heading out in the Blue Mountains this summer.

“There’s more timber down this year than I’ve seen in the 30 years I’ve been on trails,” said Rich Martin, trails coordinator for the Pomeroy District. “We were averaging 50 downed trees per mile.

“On the trail from Teepee Trailhead to Oregon Butte, we had to get a fire crew in to help us out or we’d have never got the three miles cleared out to get the lookout (staffer) in there.

“One poor contractor bid the job on the Wenaha River trail last year and came in and couldn’t believe the mess the winter left him. But he had some strong boys with him and they just pulled out of there this week.

“The Wenaha River trail is cleared out and there’s been a lot of other reconstruction work, but you couldn't ride a horse across the river until late July this year because of all the water coming down — and it just kep coming.”

Read on for other projects underway, some of which will be especially good news to hunters:

  • Trail 3235, which runs 12 miles from Wenaha Forks up to Indian Camp on the Skyline Road near Table Rock is being cleared out and reconstructed. The trail is popular with hunters and offers a great view from Round Butte.

“The contractor will get only half of it done this fall and get the rest next spring,” Martin said.

  • Crooked Creek Trail 3101 will be getting some badly needed attention for brushing and reconstruction.  Last year crews cleaned up 12 miles of the important route up out of the Wenaha River basin. This year the workers will try to get the remaining 8 miles in shape before the fall hunting seasons. The tral starts at the six-mile mark on the Wenaha River Trail and connects with the Mount Misery Trail at Dunlap Springs.



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Rich Landers

Rich Landers’ Outdoors blog


Rich Landers writes and photographs stories for a wide range of outdoors coverage, including a Sunday feature section and a Thursday column. He also writes the Outdoors Blog.


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