Eagle Creek Trail (Gorge) Closed by Fire (July 5)

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Chase
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Re: Eagle Creek Trail (Gorge) Closed by Fire (July 5)

Post by Chase » September 19th, 2017, 11:30 am

Don Nelsen wrote:
I drove SR 14 to and crossed at Hood River and came back on I84 yesterday (9/18) late afternoon. Very little smoke left in the gorge and only small wisps rising in the area from Defiance to the west side of Shellrock. No big plumes or evidence of anything but left over "warm" spots and smoldering areas. West of that, only a few very small areas of minor smoke in just a few spots. Looks to me like it is over and will be completely out when the rain finally soaks into the logs and trees burning inside and underneath.
Thanks Don! I've been wanting to hear a first hand account!

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retired jerry
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Re: Eagle Creek Trail (Gorge) Closed by Fire (July 5)

Post by retired jerry » September 19th, 2017, 11:54 am

Good news Don.

There's another inch of rain in the next day. About twice that in the gorge. Looks like there will be minimal smoke in the future.

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acorn woodpecker
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Re: Eagle Creek Trail (Gorge) Closed by Fire (July 5)

Post by acorn woodpecker » September 19th, 2017, 11:58 am

mattisnotfrench wrote:As for trails in the Gorge being abandoned, I'm not worried about any of the official trails other than Moffett Creek and a couple others that don't see much use (and even those have their champions). In time they'll all be logged out and usable, even if it takes a couple years. I'm more worried about the unofficial trails we know and love, especially Rock of Ages Ridge and Munra which seems to have been hit fairly hard from what I've seen of long-distance photos. They weren't official trails so there may be less ability to bring them back. Now would be a great idea to bring them into the official trail system, but I'm quite worried about those and a few others (Rudolph Spur, Ruckel Ridge, etc) that might never be part of the trail system again.
ROA and especially Munra could use a break from all the foot traffic they amassed the past several years. If those trails are "lost" to landslides and blowdown, that would be fine by me, even if it results in people not being able to visit them (relatively) easily. As much as they are loved by many people, they were becoming "loved to death" and such places could benefit from no longer having a trail to them. Since they are unofficial and, thus, user-maintained, I wouldn't be surprised if dedicated people sought to re-open them as their high usage makes then prime candidates to be rehabilitated. Ruckel Ridge could actually become a premier view(!) hike now and end up receiving more traffic. Also, it would probably be the easiest to bring into the official trail system (of course bypassing the Catwalk and not following the original tread). Rudolph Spur seems the likeliest of the four to truly become lost due to lack of traffic and how hard that area seemed to have burned (I haven't seen photos, though).

I don't think the USFS would bring any of these trails into the official system, what with the criteria for building a modern trail and the funds required to maintain them. The requirement of switchbacks and grade width doesn't seem feasible for any of these other than possibly Ruckel. Now, if a number of the lightly used official trails became lost/abandoned over the next several years (e.g. Eagle-Benson, Tanner Cutoff, Casey Creek, Moffett Creek), there might be a remote possibility, but I just don't see that happening.

Aimless
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Re: Eagle Creek Trail (Gorge) Closed by Fire (July 5)

Post by Aimless » September 19th, 2017, 12:32 pm

Mattisnotfrench said: "I have it on good authority that a crew brushed out and fixed the Jefferson Lake Trail on the east side of Jefferson earlier this year".

Thanks for this piece of good news in the midst of so much bad news.

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romann
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Re: Eagle Creek Trail (Gorge) Closed by Fire (July 5)

Post by romann » September 19th, 2017, 1:20 pm

Guy wrote:
Hike to Bull of the Woods LO from Elk Creek TH. Open and ready for use ;) This is what I fear:

Image

Blue Grass ridge on Hood would be another example of a trail that was pretty much left to it's own devises after the fire.
It makes me think replanting in the valleys may be not a bad idea, at least along major trails. Ridges, yes - they'll have great views (i.e. like old burn area below Angels Rest used to be) and some will be more fun with no trees, but having all the Gorge left to brush just doesn't seem right... In 10-15 years young trees will make it feel like forest walk, otherwise it will be difficult to change when the brush takes hold. And trails will need a lot more maintenance with brush - like every couple years at least, which is not likely with lesser-used trails out there.

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mattisnotfrench
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Re: Eagle Creek Trail (Gorge) Closed by Fire (July 5)

Post by mattisnotfrench » September 19th, 2017, 3:39 pm

romann wrote:
Guy wrote:
Hike to Bull of the Woods LO from Elk Creek TH. Open and ready for use ;) This is what I fear:

Image

Blue Grass ridge on Hood would be another example of a trail that was pretty much left to it's own devises after the fire.
It makes me think replanting in the valleys may be not a bad idea, at least along major trails. Ridges, yes - they'll have great views (i.e. like old burn area below Angels Rest used to be) and some will be more fun with no trees, but having all the Gorge left to brush just doesn't seem right... In 10-15 years young trees will make it feel like forest walk, otherwise it will be difficult to change when the brush takes hold. And trails will need a lot more maintenance with brush - like every couple years at least, which is not likely with lesser-used trails out there.
It's a good idea. I'm not too worried about the Gorge getting this brushy - the climate is different from that found in the BOTW and especially the climate east of Mount Jefferson so I don't see the snowbrush getting a foothold like it has there. The nature of the burn is different, too. As far as I can tell the Gorge didn't burn with the intensity of the burns referenced above.

But yes, more trees would be good. I suspect the Gorge itself will take care of that.
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greenjello85
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Re: Eagle Creek Trail (Gorge) Closed by Fire (July 5)

Post by greenjello85 » September 19th, 2017, 5:42 pm

Guy wrote:
Hike to Bull of the Woods LO from Elk Creek TH. Open and ready for use ;) This is what I fear:

Image

Blue Grass ridge on Hood would be another example of a trail that was pretty much left to it's own devises after the fire.
I hike that trail most every year and it's perfectly passable. It sure does keep the traffic down though :lol: . It's rare I see anyone out there.

I know it's not the most popular opinion but I think they should leave the gorge be and let it recover. Let it get back to a more natural state on its own. If fires happen in the future in the area, just let them do their thing so we don't wind up in the same situation where a century of fire suppression has led to crazy fuel conditions. I fear this fire will become a trumpet call for even more active forest management that defeats the purpose of wilderness areas.

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Guy
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Re: Eagle Creek Trail (Gorge) Closed by Fire (July 5)

Post by Guy » September 19th, 2017, 6:10 pm

greenjello85 wrote:
I hike that trail most every year and it's perfectly passable. It sure does keep the traffic down though :lol: . It's rare I see anyone out there.
I'd agree with passable, not sure I'd agree with perfectly!
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drm
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Re: Eagle Creek Trail (Gorge) Closed by Fire (July 5)

Post by drm » September 20th, 2017, 9:21 am

greenjello85 wrote:I fear this fire will become a trumpet call for even more active forest management that defeats the purpose of wilderness areas.
Rep. Walden has already introduced a bill that would expedite restoration. I haven't read it in detail but what I read from second-hand sources is that some environmental processes would be bypassed in order to expedite salvage logging. For much of the fire area, wouldn't that require adding new roads?

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Bosterson
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Re: Eagle Creek Trail (Gorge) Closed by Fire (July 5)

Post by Bosterson » September 20th, 2017, 10:38 am

drm wrote: Rep. Walden has already introduced a bill that would expedite restoration. I haven't read it in detail but what I read from second-hand sources is that some environmental processes would be bypassed in order to expedite salvage logging. For much of the fire area, wouldn't that require adding new roads?
It's total BS. He doesn't want the "timber value" wasted, and its value is needed to "pay for reforestation." He definitely wants wilderness protections put aside while this happens. That's a bad precedent to set...
Will hike off trail for fun.

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