Enhancement of Federal Lands


Rim Butte OHV Trails - Oregon

Volunteers working on the blue ribbon trail

Deschutes County 4 Wheelers are providing volunteer time and donations to develop a system of designated technical four-wheel drive trails in cooperation with the Deschutes National Forest.

This project is a good example of a partnership to enhance our federal public lands by creating an appropriate and safe place to play. Deschutes County 4 Wheelers have for over 30 years worked with local Federal land managers to plan for designated four-wheel drive vehicle trails in the Deschutes National Forest.

Through the Travel Management Plan process a goal of 60 miles of technical four-wheel drive trails was identified, but achieving the goal will require many volunteer hours as well as grants and donations. The 14-mile Rim Butte OHV Trails project is the first section of the 60-mile system to be developed.

Located 20 miles east of the community La Pine, Oregon and in the southwest corner of the existing East Fort Rock OHV Area, the project fills many voids for the motorized vehicle community. Shared use trails and single-track trails and two-track roads intertwined within the Rim Butte OHV Trails. Families and groups with different interests of trail activities can camp together and be accommodated with first-class motorized recreation.

Few trees need to be removed as the trails are routed largely across the lava rock

Few trees need to be removed as the trails are routed largely across the lava rock

Completing the trail system and hardening the trail required volunteers to reposition rock approaches and to repair any problems that appeared through use. The access roads to the staging areas have been widened and graveled.

Signage is an ongoing task as we proceed. Safety is dependent on the proper signs for this new trail. Sustainability is dependent on signage. Education in staying on the trail system and maintaining environmentally sound practices will assure this system’s success.

The Deschutes National Forests’ Central Oregon Combined Off Highway Vehicle Operations, Youth Corps Groups from our local area, local and out of state groups of four-wheelers along with Region 6 of the Pacific Northwest Four Wheel Drive Association have donated volunteer time, effort and equipment to build this first 14 to 16 miles of difficult to extreme trails. 800 hours were totaled for the summer of 2017.

Ideal camping and staging are adjacent to the 20 miles of trails. The staging areas are large and flat and in the process of being improved as needed with picnic tables, fire pits, and gravel surfacing. The staging areas are set in lodgepole pine and ponderosa pine.

A specialized off-highway vehicle meant for technical "rock crawling"

A specialized off-highway vehicle meant for technical "rock crawling"

The two staging areas each have concrete container toilets financed by Oregon State Parks and Recreation ATV Funding grants.

The gravel for the staging areas financed by Region 6 of the Pacific Northwest Four Wheel Drive Association and $1,100 from a GoFundMe page, "Rim Butte Completion."

This new area Rim Butte will bring many recreationalists from many areas. The small town of La Pine will reap much benefit as the Forest Service access road is is paved, and parts, fuel, food, and any other supply needed are available there.

The Forest Service Scoping Document for the project sums up the benefits of the project along with guidelines that guide its development:

"The Rim Butte OHV Jeep Trail proposal responds to direction in the Forest Service Travel Management Rule and was developed in accordance with the general and specific criteria identified in the Forest Service Manual (FSM 7715) and Code of Federal Regulations (36 CFR 212.55) for designating motorized trail systems. The Travel Management Rule directs national forests to provide for motorized use while minimizing the potential for resource damage resulting from that use. Forest Service policy directs land managers to provide a diversity of offroad recreational opportunities when use is compatible with established land and resource objectives; where use is consistent with resource capability and suitability; when the off-road opportunity is an appropriate National Forest recreation activity; and when there is a demonstrated demand for these opportunities (FSM 2355)."

For more information

Sara Baughman, Deschutes National Forest - [email protected]

Web site http://www.deschutescounty4wheelers.com/
Facebook page for Rim Butte OHV Area https://www.facebook.com/RimButteOHV/
Brian Jennings story on Rim Butte OHV Area https://www.facebook.com/SuperTalk1/videos/10212750686900300/

More winners of this award

2023: Cle Elum Ranger District Annual Liberty Work Party

2021: Bridge Buttress Trail

2020: Sam Houston National Forest - Eastside Multi-use Trail Rehabilitation

2019: Diversified Winter Trail Grooming – Wyoming

2017: Chesapeake & Delaware Canal Trail - Delaware and Maryland