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Four-month closure of Stub Stewart trails starts November 1st – UPDATE

Posted by on October 24th, 2017 at 11:33 am

Vernonia Stub Singletrack Century-17.jpg

We’ll miss you. But it’s for the best.
(Photos: J. Maus/BikePortland)

UPDATE: This project has been delayed and the trails are still open until further notice. Please see the Oregon State Parks website for latest updates.

You have about one more week to enjoy the awesome off-road biking trails at Stub Stewart State Park before they close for the winter.

Word from our friends at the Northwest Trail Alliance is that a logging project is set to begin in November and continue to the end of February. In addition, Oregon State Parks says that the paved Banks-Vernonia path will be closed between Buxton and Tophill for the month of January. The BV will be closed Monday through Friday from January 8th through the end of that month due to helicopter operations.

The purpose of the Stub Stewart closures is a logging and forest management project. NWTA trail builder Joe Rykowski says crews will use helicopters to thin the forest — a project aimed at improving the overall health of the forest that will have the added benefit of making biking better. Helicopters will be used (instead of trucks and tractors) in order to limit erosion and other environmental impacts to the trail system. This also allow crews to lift each tree out of the forest without it ever touching the ground. About 560 acres will be logged and about 25 to 40 percent of trees will be removed depending on the area.


Vernonia Stub Singletrack Century-15.jpg\

“Safety will be our number one concern during operations,” park manager Dan Quigley said in a statement. “So that means that all trails at Stub Stewart will be closed to all users and volunteers from November through February, 7 days a week.”

The NWTA, who has been building and maintaining trails at Stub Steward since 2007, is in full support of the project. Rykowski says the thinning will result in healthier trees, more sunlight, improved biodiversity and, “More ferns to ride next to!”

Once the logging is completed, NWTA and Oregon State Parks will host a series of work parties to revitalize the trails for spring. Quigley told us via email this morning that crews will begin moving equipment into place November 1st and helicopters are likely to begin flying about a week later.

— Jonathan Maus: (503) 706-8804, @jonathan_maus on Twitter and

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Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor)jeffSpiffyJason HAlex Recent comment authors
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Great to see this done. Riding out there in the winter months probably shouldn’t be done due to how the soil deals with water.


Helilogging is a great means of minimizing impact to the forest being logged, and a great way to help maintain the health of the forest around Stubb. I’m interested in what cost comparison between this type of logging and conventional logging with roads and trucks may have been made, but so far, didn’t spend a lot of time searching, didn’t find anything. The vid on helilogging (nwta has a link to it on their site), is good, informative, though it is a pitch for a commercial logging company.

The company featured in the vid, harvests dead trees in forest fire areas. Small helicopters. Larger scale logging operations probably use much larger helicopters, or conventional logging with roads and trucks. Less clear cutting, more selective cuts using choppers, is something I think could be good, if the market can support it, and it can pay enough for people and communities to make a living.

todd boulanger
todd boulanger

…gotta love the soft caress of those forest ferns!

Jason H
Jason H

Its not totally clear if the BV closure is for the same logging project or other reasons. There is a detour, but it requires a gravel capable bike, and is pretty hilly.

Take Pongratz Rd. from the Buxton Trailhead (or continue on the trail to the Pongratz crossing a little further on if the real closure is actually at the forest edge gate) then take Pongratz to Bacona, and then left on Genzler where it splits from Bacona. Left at the end of Bacona onto Hoffman and finally right on Highway 47 for a very short section before getting to Tophill and the ability to continue to Vernonia. You would have to ride a lot more on 47, but Nowakowski Rd to the west of 47 is another workable detour.


if you want more ferns and greenery removing the trees to bring in more light is the opposite of what you want…