Mirror Lake TrailheadUSFS report offers look back at 2018, look ahead to 2019 posted on 03/01/2019
The US Forest Service (USFS) was expected to release the
Mount Hood Annual Report for 2018 at the end of February, offering a look at
all that transpired on the Mount Hood National Forest last year. Laura Pramuk,
Public Affairs Officer for the (USFS), noted one of the aspects the report
highlighted was all the progress that has been made in fish restoration.
“That’s been a real testament to our commitment to fish
restoration on the Mount Hood National Forest,” she said, adding that a number
of program partners, including the Freshwater Trust, the Clackamas River Basin
and the Sandy River Watershed Council have been involved throughout. “That’s
been a real accomplishment for the forest.”
Specific projects highlighted in the report include:
– the completion of the Zigzag water system improvement
project to connect the Zigzag Ranger Station to a municipal water supply (Rhododendron
– replacing two undersized culverts with a bridge on the
upper Marco Creek to benefit native resident fish and aquatic organisms, and
minimize the potential for a primary arterial road to washout.
– decommissioning of seven miles of roads decommissioned in
lower Collawash and Oak Grove Fork, and the Middle Clackamas River watersheds
that crossed or paralleled stream corridors, and were located on large,
unstable earthflow landforms. Decommissioned roads were re-planted with native
seedlings and grass seed.
– the Ant Farm crew, consisting of youth from Sandy,
assisted the Zigzag Trail Crew in the Sandy River Basin, including work on
Mirror Lake Trail, Little Zigzag Falls Trail and rehabilitation activities in
the Salmon River Corridor and Old Maid Flats where inappropriate or illegal dispersed
camping and dumping often occurs.
– trained 60 volunteers with Trailkeepers of Oregon for the
first Trail Skills college volunteer training event held on the Zigzag Ranger
– relocated the Mirror Lake Trailhead and added 1.4 miles of
accessible trail. The new trailhead project provides a more sustainable and
safe alternative to roadside parking. The project also improved drainage and
parking improvements at Skibowl, and included improvements to the intersection
of Glacier View and Hwy. 26.
– trail Crew, volunteers and partners maintained 406 miles
– replaced the Buttercup ski lift at Mt Hood Meadows. The
new lift is a SkyTrac fixed grip quad which doubles capacity and will run 30
percent faster than the old Buttercup, thanks to a conveyor that beginners step
on that matches their speed to the lift chair.
– in the first year of the multi-year Upper Sandy Watershed
Restoration Action Plan, The Freshwater Trust, Bureau of Land Management and
USFS teamed up to restore all non-Wilderness instream reaches of Lost Creek and
fully restored Cast Creek in 2018. The partners placed 945 logs and whole trees
to construct 70 wood jams and reconnected 5,639 feet of historic floodplain
– in the “Marco Reach” of the West Fork Hood River, a large
wood placement project was completed in collaboration with the Confederated
Tribes of the Warm Springs Reservation of Oregon and Weyerhaeuser Columbia
Timberlands. Approximately 60 trees were hand-tipped and 180 alders hand-felled
into a 0.7-mile reach of the river to create log jam structures just upstream
of Marco Creek.
– the USFS partnered with Portland General Electric to
replace an undersized and failing culvert with an open-bottom arch, benefitting
resident native fish and aquatic organisms, and mitigating the potential for a
major failure of Forest Service Road 45, offering access to tens of thousands
– the 2018 fire season was below average in the number of
ignitions and acres burned. In all, 54 ignitions for 89 acres occurred on the
MHNF. Fifty-two fires were human caused with the remainder started by
lightning. Resources from the MHNF supported neighboring cooperators and
National Forests including Oregon Department of Forestry, the Columbia River
Gorge National Scenic Area, Willamette National Forest, and the Confederated
Tribes of Warm Springs (CTWS), in addition to many fires in the Pacific
Northwest and the Western United States.
Meanwhile, Pramuk shared that 2019 includes a few notable
projects, including replacing a culvert on the 2612 Road (Still Creek Road)
during the summer. This culvert is located near Mile Post 7 on a tributary to
Still Creek and is the final project of the Watershed Restoration Action Plan
for Still Creek.
The MHNF and Sandy River Basin Partners acquired grants of
nearly $2.2 million dollars that resulted in significant improvements in
habitat quality, water quality and ecosystem function in Still Creek. From 2012
through 2019, in-stream restoration actions impacted more than eight miles of
the Still Creek main channel and an estimated 185 acres of floodplain habitat.
2019 will also see a new electrical system improvement
project at Timberline Lodge to address the cleaning and maintenance of
electrical service equipment, replacement of obsolete equipment and creating a
current set of schematics for the electrical systems. The project will include
the historic lodge and the newer day lodge.
The contract has not been awarded yet but could begin this
summer or fall, and it may cause minor disruptions to visitor services at the
lodge. The current electrical system is out of date and improvements are needed
to bring the lodge’s system up to current code.
“There's a lot of enthusiasm on the forest because we are
making some substantive progress on long standing projects,” Pramuk said.
“(But) there’s always more work to do.”
By Garth Guibord/MT