Beginning Monday, closures will be in place temporarily on portions of trails within the Phil’s trail area. The closures are to protect the public’s safety as mastication of brush and small trees occurs in the area, which can cause debris to fling up to 300 feet. The impacted trails are:
We will post updates as closures are removed.
Our annual Fall Trail Love event will be held on Saturday, October 16th, with some additional work events on Saturday, October 23rd. Due to Covid, we are going to be doing it a little differently this year and will have small groups, led by Chapter Reps and Crew Leaders, hit the trails to get work done in a safe and socially-distanced manner.
So many options to lend a hand! Check out the many events by going to our Meetup page here.
For everyone who comes out to help on Trail Love this fall, you'll get a free laser-engraved custom COTA engraved stem cap! Project321 kindly donated a whole bunch of these and our Board President, Alex Anderson, ran their laser machine.
Project321, thanks for making our volunteers look so good!
Stop by our table at the Redmond Saturday Market on October 16th to meet COTA representatives and learn more about:
COTA needs our members' help! Plans for Lemon Gulch, a proposed 50 mile trail network in the Ochocos 4+ years in the making, are threatened by a small group of private parties.
The oposition is primarily three ranches that hold grazing permits for a short period of time each summer in Lemon Gulch. They do not feel that it is possible coexist with mountain bikers. We believe we can navigate their concerns and we feel strongly this is the best location for this trail network but need to push for that conversation to happen.
Please contact the representatives listed below to show your support for the proposed Lemon Gulch trails. Feel free to use your own words on why you support these trails or use the language here:
I’m contacting you because I support the proposal to add a network of mountain bike trails to Lemon Gulch just outside of Prineville in the Ochoco National Forest. These public lands offer a great riding opportunity for mountain bikers of all ages and abilities in an area where there will not be conflicts with other trail users. The project will have positive health and economic benefits for the community. Of the many areas initially proposed, Lemon Gulch has been identified by the Forest Service as the most appropriate area for this trail network. The Lemon Gulch proposal is the result of a multi-year process, initiated by the Forest Service and the Prineville Chamber of Commerce, that has included many stakeholder groups and members of the community and it is important that the outcome of this process be respected and not derailed by a small group of private parties attempting to restrict access to public land.
Crook County Commissioners:
Commissioner Jerry Brummer
Phone: (541) 447-6555
Commissioner Brian Barney
Phone: (541) 447-6555
Oregon State Representatives:
State Senator Dennis Linthicum
Phone: (503) 986-1728
State Representative Vikki Breese-Iverson
Phone: (503) 986-1455
Congressman Cliff Bentz
Phone: (202) 225-6730
Senator Jeff Merkley
Phone: (202) 224-3753
Senator Ron Wyden
Phone: (202) 224-5244
You can find more information about the Lemon Gulch project at Ochoco Trails: ochocotrails.org/current.../ochoco-national-forest/
Understanding Industrial Fire Precaution Level (IFPL): how trail/forestry work and wildfire risk are linked
August 6, 2021 - Bend Bulletin column written by Emmy Andrews.
Trail work follows the seasons. In winter, trails are blanketed under snow and little or no trail work occurs.
As spring arrives and the trails emerge from the melting snow, a small army of mostly volunteer trail workers gets busy.
They use chainsaws and hand saws to remove trees that have fallen across the trail. They use loppers and power brushers to cut back shrubs that are growing into the trail. They use shovels and other hand tools to complete small projects to improve trail drainage, prevent erosion, correct trail widening and more. They use machinery such as skid steers for larger maintenance projects such as reshaping jumps on mountain bike trails and building new trails.
They work furiously as summer approaches, and their work becomes sweatier and dustier with each passing week. As temperatures rise and the soil dries out — which seems to happen faster and sooner each year — certain types of trail work projects become unfeasible.
Imagine building a sandcastle on the beach. As the sand dries, it won’t stick together and becomes impossible to shape. Similarly, as Central Oregon soil dries out, it becomes nearly impossible to do trail work such as reshaping dirt jumps.
As soil dries, another more familiar shift also occurs: The risk of wildfire increases.
Trail work and wildfire risk are linked by a relatively unknown designation: the Industrial Fire Precaution Level . IFPLs start at Level I and go up to Level IV. At Levels II and III, the use of powered equipment and certain activities are limited. At Level IV, all use of power equipment and all industrial activities are suspended. IFPLs apply to lands managed by the U.S. Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management .
As described on the Deschutes National Forest website, IFPLs “pertain to permitted activities such as timber sales, service contracts and firewood cutting.” As the name implies, the IFPL system restricts certain activities associated with logging and other industrial activities as fire danger increases. IFPLs stipulate things an operator can’t do, such as not use machinery at certain times of day in dry conditions. IFPLs also prescribe things an operator must do, such as use spark arresters, carry a fire extinguisher and perform a fire watch after operations conclude.
This year, local Forest Service and BLM lands went from Level I to II in early July and raced onward through the levels, entering IFPL IV a mere two weeks later, on July 17. The IFPL is likely to remain at Level IV, the most restrictive level, until well into fall, when moisture returns.
Trail work activities are subject to IFPL requirements and restrictions. At IFPL IV, if a tree falls across the trail, trail workers can’t use a chainsaw to cut it. They must leave it there or cut it with a hand saw. If a new trail is being built, they must use hand tools and can no longer use machinery to speed the process along. Trail workers happily comply — no one wants a wildfire — and await the onset of fall, when moisture will return and any affected trail work projects can continue.
IFPLs also affect trail and road closures. At IFPL IV, because forest thinning operations are suspended, trails and forest roads in the thinning area that were previously closed Monday to Friday are now open.
As citizens and users of public lands, it is important to understand how to recreate responsibly as fire danger increases. While IFPLs affect industrial operations, high fire danger also necessitates recreational restrictions such as not having campfires and not driving or parking on dry vegetation. Thanks for recreating responsibly!
Article published here.
The Euro Stewardship/West Bend forest thinning project continues in the Phil's area and the USFS/Deschutes Nat'l Forest office has confirmed several forest service road (FSR) openings.
OPEN WEEKENDS FOR BIKERS, MOTORIZED & NON-MOTORIZED USE
FSR 4610 - Ben's, Kent's cross; popular dry camping access road off Skyliner's
FSR 4610-300 - aka The 300 road
Lower Whoops Trail
Pine Drops Trail
EXT Trail - runs parallel to 300 road
Storm King Trail – section between FSR 4615 and Upper Phil’s near the old Whoops bench
Phil’s Trail - aka Helipad or Upper Phil's (trail from old Whoops bench area to 300 road)
CLOSED 24/7 TO MOTORIZED TRAFFIC
FSR 4601-310 (aka Whoops Climb Road), 320 and 322 roads are not completed and remain closed to all motorized use, but open weekends for bikers and non-motorized use.
PLEASE NOTE: NO PARKING where the 300 road meets Skyliners. Thanks!
See updated map (dated 6/10/2021) and USFS press release below for more information.
Go to Deschutes Collaborative Forest Project for detailed information on the West Bend Project.
The May 6, 2021 Press Release is posted below and can also be found here.
April, 2021 - Backyard Bend's Kristian Jamieson interviews Emmy Andrews, our first Executive Director, who provides a quick update on the larger issues for Central Oregon mountain bike trails. Learn about new trail systems in Madras and the Ochocos, COTA's relationship with land managers, and the future of eBikes and public downhill developments.
Bend, Ore— This Thursday, fuel specialists with the Deschutes National Forest will conduct prescribed fire operations adjacent to Bend and within the Phil’s Trail area. The prescribed burn will be visible to residents of Bend and travelers along Century Drive.
The project area is located south of Phil’s Trailhead, west of Bend, and includes portions of KGB, COD, and Marvin’s Garden trails, which will be closed during fire operations. Forest Service Road 4604 also will be closed along with several smaller Forest Service Roads. Closed roads and trails will be signed.
Specialists will underburn approximately 350 acres. Ignitions are expected to take 1-2 days and will occur between 10 a.m. and 5 p.m. each day.
Smoke and residual burning will be visible in the area for up to a week post ignition. Subdivisions and neighborhoods on the west side of Bend can expect some nighttime and early morning smoke impacts after the burn. Trails will reopen once deemed safe.
The objective of this prescribed burn is to reintroduce fire into a fire evolved ecosystem and to reduce the potential impacts of a wildfire coming into Bend and Century Drive.
The public is encouraged to close their windows at night and if smoke is on the roadway, turn on headlights and slow down while traveling through smoky areas. The public’s health is important to the Forest Service. While significant preventive measures are taken, many factors influence a person’s susceptibility to smoke, including severity and duration of smoke exposure and a person’s health. If individuals feel impacted by smoke, they should avoid outdoor physical exertion and remain indoors. If people experience serious health impacts from the smoke, they should contact their doctor. For more information about smoke and health, visit the Oregon Health Authority recommendations through this link: http://www.oregon.gov/oha/PH/Preparedness/Prepare/Pages/PrepareForWildfire.aspx#health
Notice originally published here.