Make the McKenzie Connection!

Ranger district plans improvement projects

Public can comment on site upgrades for 2023

MCKENZIE BRIDGE: The McKenzie River Ranger District is seeking comments on a variety of upcoming projects ranging from residence improvements at the Big Lake Youth Camp to restoration work at Owl Creek Meadow. Written and electronic comments concerning these proposals will be accepted until June 20th.

The largest would be work related to restoring the floodplain near the confluence of the McKenzie and South Fork McKenzie rivers. Some of those activities include the removal of artificial levees, berms, fill, riprap, and other natural sediment within the floodplain. Some existing channels would be filled to raise stream bed elevation while some large woody material would be hauled in and trees would be pushed over with heavy equipment whenever feasible to keep root wads intact. Officials plan to decommission USFS Road 1900400, including the removal of a bridge. Future recreational opportunities would be analyzed as part of the project.

The ranger district is also considering authorizing the operators of Camp White Branch to modify and expand a shower house there and build a shed for winter vehicle storage.

Several site improvements could upgrade amenities at the Big Lake Youth Camp. A new equestrian center and riding arena is being considered that would better fit the functional and safety needs of the camp’s programs while moving it away from the current drain field (which will allow for the construction of a new Welcome Center, including a registration check-in area, a health clinic, guest quarters for clinic staff, and a dedicated year-round space for the camp store). Other work planned there could include constructing trails for the equestrian program and rebuilding mountain biking trails that were destroyed in recent logging operations. A new maintenance shop and fuel storage area are planned, besides a Nature Education Center, three new staff housing units, and a guest lodge.

Recreation-related projects include installing two solar-powered light poles at the parking area and trailhead to Terwilliger Hot Springs, adding an automatic fee-pay station next to the Proxy Falls parking area, and creating two camp host sites at McKenzie Bridge Campground and Big Lake West Campground.

Written comments must be submitted to: Dean Schlichting, NEPA Planner, 57600 Highway 126 Mckenzie Bridge, OR 97413, or [email protected].


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