In honor of National Trails Day on June 3rd, 2017, we invited northeast Oregon trail users to a work party at Salt Creek Summit on the Wallowa-Whitman National Forest. National Trails Day, sponsored by the American Hiking Society, involves thousands of volunteers in trail maintenance events all over the country. The Salt Creek Summit area trails are used by horseback riders, cyclists, hikers, skiers, and snowmobilers.
At 8:30 a.m. on the appointed date, a group of 25 volunteers and 5 United States Forest Service (USFS) employees met at the Salt Creek Summit parking lot in Wallowa County, Oregon. After a safety meeting, the participants broke up into five smaller groups and dispersed by about 9:00 a.m. to work on four trails accessible from the Summit: Redmont Trail #1823, Wing Ridge Trail #1828, Wagon Road Trail #1819, and the Devil’s View Loop Trail. The work included logging, limbing, brushing, and repairing water bars and drainage dips. The fifth group erected a new sign in the trailhead area.
The Redmont Trail group worked cutting and limbing Lodgepole Pine. They progressed almost to the bridge on Redmont, or nearly 1 mile.
The Wing Ridge Trail group removed one down tree with a crosscut saw and used the material to replace two water bars. The group built and repaired about 12 drainage dips, and brushed and limbed trees.
A third group, including three teen boys, completed mostly limbing and brushing work over about 2 miles of the Devil’s View Loop and Cutoff trails
The fourth group worked brushing and limbing for about 3 miles of Wagon Road Trail from Salt Creek Summit nearly to Big Sheep Creek. USFS staff assisted with chainsaw work on about six large down trees.
Although it was a little too early in the season, with significant snow patches impeding travel and the extent of work, a satisfying amount of work was accomplished. Work remaining includes finishing the last ½ mile of the Wagon Road Trail and proceeding beyond the first mile or so of the Wing Ridge Trail. In addition, two of the three bridges encountered on the Wagon Road Trail are in need of extensive repair. More fun for another time!