Last fall the National Forest Foundation (NFF) awarded funds from the Ski Conservation Fund to the 44 Trails Association for work in the Mt. Hood National Forest. Guests at lodging properties including Cooper Spur Mt. Resort voluntarily contribute to the NFF Ski Conservation Fund, so it is satisfying to see the funds put to work so close to home.
The 44 Trails Association is a Hood River, Oregon based trails stewardship crew focused on the maintenance, growth and stewardship of the multi-use single-track trails on the Mt. Hood National Forest accessible from the FS44 road in Oregon’s Wasco and Hood River Counties.
The award is helping to accomplish three primary objectives:
- adding four miles of new trail called the Cooks Meadow Extension, which moves the existing trail #639 off of a forest road and connects it with the #450 trail;
- improving trailhead parking area for the East Fork Trail #650; and
- general maintenance of the 44 trail system including blowdown logout, sustainable tread repair and brushing of overgrown sections.
The award notification coincided with approval from the Mt. Hood National Forest to proceed with the proposed Cooks Meadow extension trail project, so they took advantage of the remaining dry fall weather to start the project. The extension moves a section of trail off of the FS4410 road and creates approximately four miles of new single track. The new trail will connect the existing Cooks Meadow trail #639 with the upper reaches of the popular Lookout Mountain #450 trail to create a new loop route for mountain biker, hiker and equestrian use.
Following initial brushing, scouting and alignment of the trail in October, more than 30 volunteers turned out for one large-scale workday in November before winter snows put work on hold. The workday dawned cold and wet, but 44 Trails volunteers made excellent progress, roughing in nearly half of the four miles of new trail tread. Winter arrived early last fall and projects have been on hold as high country snows recede and the dirt begins to dry out.
There are several work days scheduled beginning in July to get back into the woods to put the NFF funding to work this summer!
You can read more about the 44 Trails Association and the multi-use trail network on the Mt. Hood National Forest for which we advocate and enjoy at www.44trails.org.