McKenzie River

MRT rerouteMCKENZIE BRIDGE: Under plans approved in May, the McKenzie River Ranger District will relocate portions of the McKenzie River National Recreation Trail near Smith Reservoir. Parts of the existing trail were originally constructed in areas that officials determined were too steep, didn’t incorporate effective drainage, or were un-sustainable. Problems included erosion that might accelerate over time causing a variety of adverse impacts to the trails and environment, including damage which makes trails unsafe to use and increased turbidity in adjacent water systems. In addition, two bridges will be replaced.
The work plan calls for the new sections to be constructed by hand (no heavy equipment), though motorized tools may be used at times. Crews will remove brush and construct a tread from 18 to 22 inches wide). Unsustainable portions of the trail would be decommissioned and naturalized following completion of the proposed reroutes. Another part of the works will use water bars  to remove running water off of the tread.
The entrance and exit points of the old trail would be hidden by debris to discourage use.
Comments on the proposed action were accepted from April 8th to May 6th of 2016. No comments, either in support or opposed, were received.

MRT ClosuresParts of the McKenzie River Trail remain closed over the Labor Day Weekend, including the popular Blue Pool, at Tamolitch Falls, due to the Blue Top Fire. U.S. Forest Service fire closure orders remain in place for 6 miles of the McKenzie River Trail as well as the area surrounding Blue Pool and the pool itself. The Forest Service closed the area to protect the public from post-fire hazards: falling snags from the rock face above the pool, intermittent rolling rocks, and holes that appear solid, but are hollow and can cause severe burns to feet and legs. Officials report that when firefighters must escort violators out of the closed area it causes unnecessary delays in their suppression efforts. Security staff are on duty to intercept persons breaching the closure and violation notices will be issued.

Excerpts from the Sept. 1, 2016 Sheriff's Reports

Aug. 16: 1:57 pm: Criminal Trespass – 47000 block, McK. Hwy. Complainant is having a new septic system installed. Neighbor is repeatedly coming over & impeding work crew, calling the county saying the crew is violating land use law & calling power company saying they are digging up utility lines. Caller advises she comes over at night & turns off the house that needs to fill the tank. She is delaying the project, costing money.

Blue Pool AccessMCKENZIE BRIDGE: Due to increased fire danger levels, the Willamette National Forest placed public use restrictions on campfires and chainsaws starting on Monday.
“We understand this is an inconvenience for our visitors but fire danger levels prompt us to issue these restrictions” said Sean Stafford, Fire Staff for the Willamette National Forest.
Except in campfire rings at posted, developed and designated recreation areas building, maintaining, attending or using a fire, stove or campfire are now restricted.
Smoking, too, is affected except within an enclosed vehicle or building, a developed recreation site, or while in an area at least three feet in diameter that is cleared of all flammable material.
In addition, building, maintaining, attending or using a fire, stove or campfire, including a charcoal fire, in the Middle Santiam Wilderness and Menagerie  areas is not allowed.

Sheep Creek bridgeHWY. 20: A project to create five-and-a-half miles of new road, bypassing a 10-mile section of the original U.S. 20 that was built in 1917, is now underway.
Through the end of September, travelers on U.S. 20 should expect detours on the west and east sides of Interstate 5 due to construction road closures just west of Eddyville (west) and 26 miles east of Sweet Home at the Sheep Creek Bridge (east).
ODOT officials say the U.S 20 Sheep Creek Bridge closure will last through the end of September. The highway is fully closed from milepost 54 to 56.9 while the bridge is out. There is no local detour.
Eastbound travelers are now taking OR 20 from Lebanon to OR 226 to OR 22, or OR 126 from Springfield.
Westbound travelers should take OR 22 to OR 226, or OR 126 from Santiam Junction.

Image: Photo Courtesy ODOT. Until about 2010, the earth movement at the Sheep Creek Bridge was measured at approximately one inch per year.  For the past four years, however, the movement has increased to six to seven inches per year.

Willamette National Forest – Campfires and use of chainsaws limited beginning Monday, August 22, at 12:01am

Due to increased fire danger levels, the Willamette National Forest will initiate the following public use restrictions on campfires and chainsaw effective 12:01 am on Monday, August 22nd:
1. Building, maintaining, attending or using a fire, stove or campfire, including a charcoal fire, in the Menagerie and Middle Santiam Wilderness areas.

Blue Pool Fire MapBlue Pool will remain closed through weekend of July 29 & 30

Tamolitch PoolBlue Pool and portion of McKenzie River Trail temporarily closed as firefighters respond to wildfire

MCKENZIE BRIDGE:  Fire crews are responding to the 2-acre Blue Top Fire near Blue Pool and Tamolitch Falls along of the popular McKenzie River Trail (Trail #3507). To protect both the visiting pubic and to allow firefighters to safely manage the fire, the McKenzie River Trail is temporarily closed between the trailhead at Trail Bridge Campground off Forest Road 2600-355 and the trailhead at Carmen Reservoir.

“We realize this is a very popular destination for bikers and hikers.” said Fire Management Officer Randy Harbick. “This closure is in place to protect firefighter and public safety. We will open the McKenzie River Trail and Blue Pool as soon as possible.”

No public access will be permitted to the Blue Bool area. The McKenzie River Trail is still accessible to the west of Trail Bridge Campground and to the east of Carmen Reservoir. Hikers and bikers eager to escape hot valley temperatures and enjoy their national forest are encouraged to explore other beautiful destinations nearby such as Cougar Reservoir or Blue River Reservoir.

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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.