Posted by Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) on October 24th, 2017 at 11:33 am
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.
“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.
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