New bridges, trail reroutes, and improvements to the 27-mile riverside trail that included elimination of unsafe crossings for equestrian users.
This 27-mile riverside trail wanders up the Middle Fork of the Willamette River from Sand Prairie Campground up to the headwaters at Timpanogas Campground. Big old growth trees, wild rapids, fishing holes and excellent hiking, horseback riding and mountain biking opportunities are found in abundance along the trail route.
This project allowed several goals to be accomplished at once in improving the Middle Fork National Recreation Trail. Creeks that are habitat for two endangered fish species were bridged with puncheon and trail bridges, creating safe and stable trail crossings that prevent damage to fish habitat.
In addition, three reroutes were included with this project that allowed 800 feet of flooded and damaged trail to be moved onto a nearby side slope and the improvement of the approach angle and grade for two other trail bridge approaches.
One bridge, 80 feet long, would have required very large log stringers if it had to be built only with available Forest Service resources. The Recreational Trails Program funding enabled a steel bridge to be installed that used two very large trees as rigging anchors. The result is a more permanent and sustainable solution to a major stream crossing.
Two barriers were eliminated that had created unsafe crossings for equestrian users so that they could use much more of this trail than ever before. The trail is very popular with local and visiting mountain bikers and hikers, but previously did not adequately serve the needs of equestrians. One of the project’s goals was to correct that deficiency and welcome equestrians to ride the Middle Fork National Recreation Trail.
Matching funds came from volunteer labor, Youth Conservation Corps labor paid by the U.S. Forest Service, as well engineering staff and planning labor, also paid by the Forest Service. The Northwest Youth Corps, a private youth job training program, was also involved.
This epic trail winds through stands of mixed conifer, cottonwood, and big leaf maple, which give the visitor many diverse views of changing ecosystems— from riparian zones to high elevation fir. Many trailheads offer opportunities for shorter trips and several of the easily accessible riverside areas receive high use.
This trail makes an excellent mountain bike ride with difficulty level starting at "easy" (near Sand Prairie Campground) and moving toward "most difficult" near the end of the trail at Timpanogas Campground. There is ample opportunity to view wildlife, flowers, waterfalls and portions of the Oregon Central Military Wagon Road. Several sections of the trail are flat and can provide a scenic walk for even the youngest family member.
2015: Boardman Bridge - Idaho