Recreation

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.

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.

CleanupWALTERVILLE: A local event on the 2016 Oregon Lavender Festival schedule will open this Friday for a three-day run in Walterville. From July 8th to  10th, McKenzie River Lavender will be open for u-cut lavender, farm tours and the farm’s popular Lavender Labyrinth from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily.
Visitors and residents alike can look forward to sipping lavender lemonade, sampling other lavender goodies and shopping for fresh products like handcrafted soaps and lotions, essential oil and pillows.
The family-run farm is located on Highway 126 at 40882, between milepost 15 & 16.
The McKenzie River Guides Association, McKenzie Watershed Council, and McKenzie Flyfishers have planned a fun filled annual family event that involves food, prizes and more. All that will be the reward for volunteers taking part in the annual McKenzie River Cleanup.
Crews will be out in boats as well as scouring the streambanks after 8 a.m. to 9 a.m. sign-into pick up supplies at the Hendricks Bridge Park.  The clean up work runs until 2 p.m. and extends from the Ollalie Campground to Armitage Park.
Following their day’s work, volunteers will be rewarded with a BBQ and festivities at Hendricks Bridge Park, from 1 to 4 p.m.

Water hazardsMCKENZIE RIVER: Crews from the Lane County Sheriff’s Office Search and Rescue Team, with the assistance of Eugene/Springfield Fire, responded to multiple water emergencies over the holiday weekend, including two on the McKenzie River, and four on the Willamette River    The rescues on the McKenzie River occurred approximately ½ mile downstream from Harvest Landing in Springfield where fallen trees and other environmental factors can become a hazard.  There are large rocks just under the surface of the water at the river left bank that boaters should be aware of.  A log has already been removed from the water, and the Sheriff’s Office is evaluating the area for other potential hazards.
“While the rivers in Lane County provide a great place to recreate, they can be unpredictable and dangerous.  ,” according to LCSO Sergeant Carrie Carver. She recommended a few safety tips to help keep people and their loved ones safe while out on the water:

19 DetoursBLUE RIVER: Improvements will be underway this summer to the Aufderheide Scenic Byway (Forest Service Road 19) that connects the communities of Blue River and Westfir. Work will include placing new culverts, laying new asphalt and cleaning ditches. The work is expected to cause delays of up to 30 minutes in two locations.
All the roadwork will be south of Box Canyon (the halfway point between the two towns). Travelers using the northern section of byway will not be delayed.
Officials are advising travelers there will be a detour that may add 30 minutes to travel times.  From the Blue River side, could follow Forest Service Road 1928 to Oakridge. It is graveled, but in good shape for a passenger car. Motorcyclists, trucks with trailers and RVs may have difficulties.

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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.