Whats New

Happy mtn bikersTrail crews on the McKenzie River Ranger District of the Willamette National Forest have completed a five-year project to improve the O’Leary Loop into a world class mountain biking trail. Already a “hidden gem” for both hiking and mountain biking, the enhanced trail is a 22-mile, single-track loop with an intense backcountry feel. Local partners and the McKenzie River Ranger District hope that increasing the mountain biking opportunities in the area will encourage visitors to stay and explore the area for multiple days.

The project started in 2011 when the Recreation and Trails sub-committee of the McKenzie River Chamber of Commerce identified a need for additional bike trails to better serve the mountain biking community. The McKenzie River Trail, which draws visitors locally, nationally and internationally, was the only substantial opportunity for mountain biking in the area. The Disciples of Dirt, a mountain bike advocacy group, worked with the Willamette National Forest to identify the O’Leary Loop, which had been infrequently used for hiking or biking, as an opportunity to expand mountain biking opportunities.

Off Beat Oregon History

BPA towersBy Finn J.D. John

On a sunny late afternoon, in a remote woodsy area near the base of Mount Hood, five fiery explosions rattled windowpanes in a few farmhouses along Highway 26 near the community of Brightwood.
It was immediately clear what the coordinated blasts had been: an attempt to take down the power grid.

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Doodles By Barry McWilliams

Gardening Tips

Purple grapeBy Judy Scott
If you're looking for a colorful climbing vine and a non-invasive ground cover, Purpurea (Vitis vinifera), a purple-leaf relative of wine grapes, has both. Unlike its agricultural relatives, its fruit has an unpleasant taste.
"Purple leaf grape is a real show-off in the fall, when its leaves turn a deep reddish purple," said Linda McMahan, horticulturist with Oregon State University Extension.

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McKenzie River Reflections is the weekly newspaper serving Oregon's McKenzie River Valley. Available by mail for $23/yr in Lane County, $29/yr outside Lane. Digital subscriptions are $23/yr. Subscribe at: http://mckenzieriverreflectionsnewspaper.com/catalog/subscriptions-0. Purchase copies online at: http://mckenzieriverreflectionsnewspaper.com/catalog/back-issues-0. Read about area communities including Cedar Flat, Walterville, Camp Creek, Leaburg, Vida, Nimrod, Finn Rock, Blue River, Rainbow and McKenzie Bridge.