Upper Oregon Maintenance and +/-800-foot Reroute
The Ketchum Ranger District (KRD) is leading an Idaho Conservation Corp (ICC) youth crew on a heavy-maintenance detail on the upper half of the Oregon Gulch Trail. They are cleaning out and improving existing drains and installing new drains.
In their work they are being careful to protect the riding surfaces that mountain bikers and dirt-bikers use when they are descending along this trail. When the crews began work the KRD took a mountain bike up with them so that the crew members could get on it to experience how riders ply the trail. They spent time examining where riders are placing their tires as they roll down the trail, and they looked carefully at how hikers use the trail when climbing up and down it.
In some areas, where bikers are not treading, the trail-tread is being re-shaped. In these spots, the trail is rutted and “V”-shaped underfoot. Your feet can’t lay flat as you stride on the trail, so its difficult to walk on it. Where these conditions exist the crews are working to create a flatter walking surface; making the trail more approachable on foot. They are doing this while striving to maintain the line that riders utilize on this popular mountain bike descent.
The crews were camped out on top of the trail, near where it intersects with the East Fork Baker Creek Road. They have completed work on the very top section, and have moved camp to an area along the Oregon Gulch Trail that is just below its intersection with the Oregon-Fox Connector Trail. They are continuing with the type of work they carried out on the highest section of the trail. They will also be installing an approximately 800-foot long reroute along the trail.
The area where the reroute will be installed is just above the trail’s intersection with the Oregon-Fox Connector Trail. Here, the Oregon Gulch Trail goes steeply down the fall-line, and it is becoming increasingly incised (“V”-shaped). The condition of the trail is such that traffic is avoiding it. They are leaving the existing trail and creating a new, paralleling trail that runs beside the existing path. These braided conditions will likely only get worse over time, as the newer path degrades and people start avoiding it too. Thus the need for a short reroute near the bottom of the upper portion of the trail.
I believe the crew will be working through the weekend, and through eclipse-Monday, so be aware that work is ongoing. If you use the trail watch for obstacles and crews at work. If you are descending, please slow down and stop above any workers. Announce your presence if they haven’t noticed you already, and let them know you would like to pass through. They will be happy to gather things up and step aside, but it may take a moment before they can give you instructions to proceed.
Recently Cutout Trails and Such
KRD Trail Crew members and local volunteers were out again this week cutting out downed trees along area trails. On Tuesday the KRD and a couple of motorcyclist volunteers teamed up to cutout Castle Rock Trail. The crew consisted of the KRD’s Sara Gress and Halie Raudenbush and vols Jeff Mintz and Josh Commons. They cutout the trail end to end, removing about 50 trees. On Wed., Aug. 16 Sara and Halie cutout Placer Creek Trail from its low point near Warm Springs Road to Alpine Gulch. They did not cutout the leg in Alpine Gulch, as they found the trail there very heavily damaged. In places the trail was completely obliterated. On Thursday Sara and Halie started cutting out Rooks Creek Trail, getting part way up the heavily flood-damaged trail.
Much road work has been done by the KRD Road and Bridge Crew on the low, road-like section of the Rooks route. In the spring the creek flooded in the drainage and washed out sections of the road. Where the road-like section of Rooks gives way to singletrack (about a mile
up the drainage) the trail is heavily damaged in places. The KRD is putting together a plan for repairs to the fire-impacted and flood damaged trail. They will likely be pursuing grant opportunities to fund the work.
Many of our area trails are now cutout. For information about what is cutout please go to the BCRD Summer TraiLink site. Moving your cursor over a trail on the map will open a drop-down window with some summary information about that trail. Or you can click on a trail to open a different drop-down window that offers a link to the selected trail’s Trail Details page. If you would prefer to select a trail from a list, scroll down below the main map, and below the Trails Report section of the site. There you will find a listing of area trails by region. Click on any trail name to open its Trail Details page. The Trail Details page will include information about the status and condition of the trail, including if it has been cutout yet this season.
The KRD has issued an updated sheep report for bands of sheep on KRD allotments in the Wood River Valley. Here is a link to that report:
Here is a partial list of sheep band locations summarized from the KRD report and BLM information (Please note that the list below does not cover the location of every band of sheep in the region):
– Sheep may be passing through the Galena Lodge area in the coming days. A band is expected to trail over the summit, then trail down the sheep driveway toward a KRD allotment in Lake Creek Drainage.
– Sheep are expected to trail south thru Ketchum on Wednesday, August 23. This band is presently on the north side of the Lake Creek drainage – on the hillsides upstream of the corrals.
– Sheep are in the lower portions of the North Fork Deer Creek. The band will ship/truck from Panther Gulch around Wed., Aug 23.
– Sheep are above and north of Warm Springs Creek, between Rooks and Barr Gulch – headed toward Barr Gulch.
– Sheep are on the south side of Corral Creek; just east of Uncle John’s Gulch.
– Sheep are near the bottom of Bear Gulch and heading to Johnstone Creek by the weekend.
– Sheep are in Slaughterhouse Gulch east of Bellevue.
Have a great weekend and eclipse-Monday!
Best, Chris Leman – Wood River Valley Trail Coordinator for the Blaine County Recreation District