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

Grain fleetBy Finn J.D. John

The merciless waters of the Columbia River Bar are not known for easily giving up their prey once they’ve trapped a ship on their sandy shoals. But over the years, it has happened now and again, and the stories of these survivors are always interesting.

The Queen of the Pacific

There was no hint of irony in mind when the passenger liner Queen of the Pacific was launched in Philadelphia in 1882. The Pacific Coast Steamship Company of San Francisco had spared no expense. Competition on the San Francisco-Portland line was at its peak, and the Queen’s owners intended to have the very finest steamer on the route.

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Doodles By Barry McWilliams

Gardening Tips

Paperback mapleBy Kym Pokorny
When trees get dressed with the colors of fall, it’s time to go shopping.
“If you’re specifically interested in fall color, it will soon be the time to start looking,” said Neil Bell, a horticulturist with Oregon State University’s Extension Service. “There are already some trees starting to display color.”
First, though, Bell recommends doing some research. Walk around neighborhoods, parks and public gardens to get ideas.  If you can’t identify the trees you like, snap good photos, pick up several leaves or ask the owner for a cutting. Take them to the nursery or to your local OSU Extension office for identification. You can also cut out pictures from magazines and flip through garden books to find possibilities.

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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.